Publication Date

2010-06-23

Availability

Open access

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense

2010-05-11

First Committee Member

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett - Committee Co-Chair

Second Committee Member

Debbiesiu Lee - Committee Co-Chair

Third Committee Member

Kristin Lindahl - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Robert Johnson - Committee Member

Abstract

Traditional psychotherapy with transgender clients has focused on helping gender dysphoric individuals assume an "opposite" gender role. However, recently, there have been calls for trans-positive therapy focusing on the exploration and affirmation of alternative gender identifications. The majority of the research on transgender identity has been conducted with male-to-female (MTF) identified, or transfeminine, individuals. Comparatively little attention has been given to the experience of female-to-male (FTM) identified, or transmasculine, individuals. The primary goal of this study was to explore constructs and identify underlying themes that transmasculine people use in constructing their gender identities in order to develop a structural model of transmasculine identity. Broadly speaking, results showed that transmasculine identity may be conceptualized on a continuum from an essentialist binary perspective to a constructivist non-binary perspective. This is reflected in the language the individual uses to self-identify - including identity labels, proper names and pronouns. Individuals define, experience, and embody transmasculine identities differently depending on a number of inter-related constructs including: (1) current stage of identity development and past transmasculine identity development events, (2) conceptions of masculinity and femininity, (3) context, and (4) sexuality. Further, if one of these constructs shifts it usually influences the others. Implications for theory, practice, and future research directions are discussed.

Keywords

Transgender; FTM; Genderqueer; Transmasculinity; Gender Identity; Consensual Qualitative Research

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