Date of Award

1-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

College/School

College of Education and Human Services

Department/Program

Counseling and Educational Leadership

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Leslie Kooyman

Committee Member

Dana Levitt

Committee Member

Gloria Pierce

Committee Member

Jeremy Price

Subject(s)

Transgender people--Identity, Sexual orientation

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the complexity of the lived experiences of trans men, how sexual orientation and gender identity play out in the lives of trans men, and how that lived experience changed during transitioning. The research was aimed at finding how sexual orientation and gender identity, usually treated as separate and independent constructs, interconnect with each other. Eight transgender men were interviewed in-depth over a period of several months. Their perspectives gave insight into how sexual and gender identities are related and how one informs the other.

The present study showed that fluidity in gender and sexual identities was common among transgender persons. Some trans men were more binary than others with regard to gender, and those trans men tended to share the “being born in the wrong body” narrative. These binary leaning trans man also tended to be more binary in their sexual orientation. Fluidity in gender in pre-transition often reflected fluidity in sexual orientation. Changes in sexual behavior and attractions during transition were also studied.

There were some unexpected findings in the present study. Trans men, being raised as women, have interesting perspectives on misogyny and male privilege. Many were reluctant to accept their male status and struggled with the concept of adopting male privilege. The present study helps to dispel some of the heteronormative concepts inherent in the current literature on transgender issues.

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