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Shannon S.C. Herrick and Lindsay R. Duncan

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.

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Shannon S.C. Herrick and Lindsay R. Duncan

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.

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Shannon S. C. Herrick and Lindsay R. Duncan

Background: LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc) persons are subject to elevated rates of chronic diseases and health concerns that can be addressed through regular participation in physical activity. However, LGBTQ+ adults experience unique challenges to engaging in physical activity. Subsequently, the aim of this study is to describe the dominant narratives related to the complex intersection of sexual orientation, gender identity, and physical activity. Methods: A systematic search and scoping review of existing literature was conducted in June 2016. Studies were identified by searching 9 electronic databases. Data were then extracted, summarized, and organized by LGBTQ+ subgroups. Conceptual maps of prominent narratives were created. Results: Separate narratives were identified for sexual minority men and women. The dominant trend for sexual minority men was increased physical activity levels, often motivated by a perceived body ideal of being thin and/or muscular. The dominant trend for sexual minority women was decreased physical activity levels, predicated on a social norm that emphasizes bodily acceptance. Conclusions: Sexual orientation affects engagement in physical activity differentially by gender. Our findings suggest that physical activity interventions should be targeted to unique subgroups of the LGBTQ+ population.