Date of Graduation

Spring 5-14-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

Program

Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Dr. Brent Rick Ferm

Second Advisor

Dr. Seth Pardo

Third Advisor

Dr. Chicora Martin

Abstract

Transgender women of color have been at the forefront of LGBT rights moments in the U.S. and has been credited for leading the Stonewall resistance (Roberts, 2018). Though much has changed since Stonewall, transgender women of color still face harassment, discrimination, and many other barriers and health risks today. One of the many challenges faced by transgender women of color is identity conflict. The purpose of the study was to examine the identity development processes of transgender women of color. This qualitative research study utilized Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to explore the lived experiences and narratives of individuals from this community through in-depth interviewing. The current study examined the interactions of racial-cultural identity and gender identity for 5 transgender women of color. The final analysis yielded 9 superordinate themes: (1) early experiences and environmental factors, (2) influence of family, race, and culture, (3) experiences with majority norms while holding minority identities, (4) lack of visibility and representation, (5) transitioning, (6) responses to discrimination, (7) after transitioning, (8) dating and relationships, (9) community. This study provides knowledge on the dynamic processes of identity development of transgender women of color and serves as a base from which to develop a theory for identity development. In addition, data from this study can be used for clinical guidance and can assist individual transgender women of color in their own meaning-making of their identity formation journeys.

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