Research by a gay support group in the US has found more than a quarter of LGBT student athletes report being harassed or assaulted while playing on a school sports team because of their sexual or gender expression.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) said the majority of LGBT youth are bullied in gym class and most feel unsafe or uncomfortable in athletic environments.

GLSEN reviewed over 8,500 responses from students all across the US between the ages of 13 and 20.

They found more than half of gay students were bullied or harassed during gym class.

More than a quarter of gay athletes said they were harassed or even assaulted while playing on a team.

And many of them – over 75% – did not even feel comfortable talking to a gym teacher or coach about being bullied.

Meanwhile, close to 39% steer clear of athletic spaces such as locker rooms.