Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Kinesiology and Health

First Advisor

Brenda G. Pitts

Second Advisor

Deborah Shapiro

Third Advisor

Sarita Davis

Fourth Advisor

Leslie Brandon


In the continued pursuit of providing a means of attaining wellbeing for all members of the campus community, collegiate recreation professional organizations encourage practitioners in the field to recognize the inequities influencing underrepresentation and make conscious, strategic actions towards alleviation of constraints. Students with marginalized identities—such as trans-identities—can experience barriers and constraints that complicate and sometimes entirely prevent them from participation in collegiate recreation programs and services (CRS). Research consistently demonstrates that students who participate in CRS experience a multitude of benefits (Artinger, et al., 2006; Belch et al., 2001; Forrester, 2015; Haines, 2001; Lower, Turner, & Petersen, 2013). However, limited and barred participation in CRS inhibits students’ ability to attain the benefits of involvement. Studies reliably identify constraining and barring factors that complicate and block transgender students from experiencing positive benefits of their campus-life experience at the same level as their non-marginalized, cisgender counterparts. These factors include genderism, discrimination, and harassment (Beemyn, 2008; Beemyn et al., 2005; Blumenfeld and Youth, 2005; Carter, 2000; Daly et al., 2015; Rankin, 2004). Research specific to transgender students’ unique collegiate recreation experience is severely lacking (Daly et al., 2015; Patchett and Foster, 2015). This disparity means that practitioners in the field are making programming and policy decisions that lack data-driven or theory illustrative sources of foundational information on which to best promote benefit attainment. The purpose of this study was to explore the intersection of three factors: benefits of CRS involvement, constraints and barriers to participation in CRS, and transgender identities. In seeking to explore this intersection, this study utilized nine participants who identify as transgender (n=9). Participants took part in a one-hour, open-ended, semi-structured interview. The resulting transcripts underwent a two-part, cyclical analysis to identify and explore common themes and phenomenological essence. The results of this intersection’s exploration addressed a gap in literature regarding trans-inclusivity and collegiate recreation; these results may aid NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation and collegiate recreation practitioners in better understanding an underserved population in CRS.