Masters Thesis

Transgender and gender expansive youth in California

Transgender people are one of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations in the U.S. The primary concept that the researcher examined is the lived experiences of former transgender and gender expansive youth in California. The theoretical frameworks that situate this study are the ecological systems theory, intersectionality, and trauma theory. This research study is qualitative and phenomenological. A diverse range of 13 participants who identify as transgender and/or gender expansive, ranging in ages from 21 to 56 were included in this research study. Colaizzi’s (1978) 7-step data analysis process was utilized. The findings reveal four major themes related to lived experiences of the participants: negative experiences they have encountered, positive experiences they have had in their lives, outcome of positive and negative experiences, and suggestions, recommendations, and changing nature of support structures. Each of the themes identified subthemes that discussed variation in experiences. Findings emphasize the need for more contemporary research studies that focus on the diversity of individuals who identify as transgender and/or gender expansive. Research studies that intentionally include intersectional and marginalized identities, and focus on transgender and gender expansive individuals and population from a respectful, dignified, and empowering perspective are necessary. It is imperative for helping professionals to willingly learn about lived experiences of transgender and gender expansive communities.

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