Locker-Room Experiences Among LGBTQ+ Adults

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Locker rooms operate as pivotal access points to physical activity across sports, physical education, and fitness facilities. However, locker rooms are predicated on cis-heterosexual assumptions that can be isolating to LGBTQ+ individuals. Using an online cross-sectional survey, LGBTQ+ adults (N = 1,067) were asked open-response questions about their past and present locker-room experiences. The resulting texts were independently coded by two researchers using thematic analysis and compared. All discrepancies were discussed with and rectified by a third researcher who acted as a critical peer. The results present distinct experiences across three intersecting aspects of embodiment: self-conscious—“I hate(d) being seen,” sexual transgression, and gender transgression. The findings provide insight into how harmful LGBTQ+ stereotypes influence locker-room experiences and support the redesign of locker rooms to challenge the binary organization of these spaces.

The authors are with the McGill Research Center for Physical Activity and Health, Dept. of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.

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