Negotiating the Space of a Predominately Gay Fitness Facility

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Emily A. Roper Temple University

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Katherine M. Polasek State University of New York, Cortland

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While researchers have explored the experiences of gay and lesbian sport participants competing and participating in alternative sport structures, no research has examined gay men, lesbians, bisexual (GLB) and heterosexual individuals’ experiences sharing an alternative space. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the experiences and perceptions of being a member of, and participating in a “predominately gay” fitness facility Interviews with 13 members and one member of management suggested that while the predominately gay fitness facility was a site in which working out was a primary focus for all of the participants, the space was used as a way to connect with the gay community (among the GLB participants) and become invisible for the women (heterosexual, lesbian, and bisexual). The results also suggested that the heterosexual participants, while “comfortable” working out in a predominately gay fitness setting, described a temporary occupation of the space.

Emily A. Roper, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Temple University Department of Kinesiology 131 Pearson Hall Philadelphia, Pa. 19122 Email: eroper@temple.edu Phone: (215) 204-1947 Fax: (215) 204-4414

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