Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Tammy Sheehy

Second Advisor

Dr. Kyle Kelleran

Third Advisor

Dr. Grace Martin

Degree Award Date

Spring 2021


transgender, gender non-conforming, gender expansive, non-binary, LGBTQ, health disparities, recreation centers, gyms, fitness centers, colleges


Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Gender and Sexuality | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Medicine and Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Social Justice


Transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people face various mental and physical health disparities. Despite this, spaces related to health and wellness are not always inclusive. Similarly, college campuses are often not as inclusive or accommodating as they should be. This study looks at the experiences of TGNC students at campus fitness centers. Through both quantitative and qualitative data gathered through an online survey, it aims to better understand the following: the presence of inclusive facilities; the perceived importance of facility variables; use of campus fitness facilities by TGNC students; what improvements they would like to see; and how any of these factors correlate with demographic and institutional variables. Ten students responded. As such, the data is not conclusive, but it is largely consistent with findings of similar studies. Both the quantitative and qualitative responses consistently suggest that gender-neutral bathrooms and changing rooms would improve TGNC students’ experiences. The qualitative data also suggests that TGNC students are avoiding campus gyms due to feelings of discomfort, sometimes directly related to their gender identities and other times due to other factors. This study serves as a starting point for further research on how campus fitness centers can be more inclusive to TGNC students.

Recommended Citation

Petterson, Rachel. “Moving Past the Binary: Transgender and Gender Non- Conforming Students’ Perspectives on College Campus Fitness Centers." Senior Honors Project, Bridgewater College, 2021.

Force Open Access