Transgender graduate students’ experiences in higher education: A mixed-methods exploratory study.

Little research has explored the experiences of transgender or gender-nonconforming (TGNC) students in higher education. Further, only 1 study has included the perspectives of TGNC graduate students (McKinney, 2005), and the experiences of students who identify with nonbinary gender identities (e.g., genderqueer, agender) are scarce in the literature (Nicolazzo, 2016a, 2016b). This study aims to address these gaps. Ninety-one graduate students completed an online survey aimed at understanding the perspectives of TGNC students in higher education. Of these 91 students, 27 (30%) identified as binary trans (e.g., trans man, trans woman) and 64 (70%) identified as nonbinary trans (e.g., genderqueer). Most respondents had concerns about their physical or emotional safety that impacted their gender presentation on campus (e.g., students presented as more masculine or feminine than they would prefer, to avoid negative treatment). Misgendering by peers, faculty, and advisors was a common stressor, the nature and meaning of which differed somewhat for nonbinary and binary identified students. Interactions with faculty advisors were identified as salient contexts for experiencing affirmation versus invalidation of one’s gender identity. Findings highlight the need for institutions of higher education to better anticipate, support, and meet the needs of TGNC graduate students. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)