A Qualitative Exploration of LGBTQ+ and Intersecting Identities Within Physical Activity Contexts

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc.) individuals face an array of challenges to physical activity participation, such as discrimination and exclusion. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of LGBTQ+ experiences in physical activity. Eight focus groups of LGBTQ+ individuals (N = 42) were conducted using a semistructured interview guide, and broad discussions about personal physical activity experiences were encouraged. All focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and subject to thematic analysis. Three main themes emerged with the following considerations: (a) intersectionality—an intersectional approach is required to explore the complexity of LGBTQ+ experiences within physical activity; (b) the contested concept of “athlete”—LGBTQ+ communities have unique conceptions associated with “athlete” that can render sport, and by extension physical activity contexts, elitist and inaccessible; and (c) “a safe space for us”—LGBTQ+-friendly physical activity practices should be explored to provide practical suggestions for inclusive practices.

The authors are with McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Herrick (shannon.herrick@mail.mcgill.ca) is corresponding author.
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