Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Robb Travers

Advisor Role



Trans (transgender, transsexual, transitioned) individuals face numerous challenges to their health and well-being (Bauer, Hammond, Travers, Kaay, Hohenadel & Boyce, 2009). Trans women in particular face disproportionately high rates of negative health outcomes, including HIV. Trans women face intersecting stigmas, which result in transphobia, trans erasure, isolation, and other systemic barriers to their well-being (Logie, James, Tharao, & Loutfy, 2012a). Despite their elevated risk, trans women, particularly those living with HIV, are invisible, neglected or underrepresented in research (Logie, et al., 2012a). Research suggests that community connectedness and social support are factors that impact the wellness of marginalized people (Kertzner, Meyer, Frost & Stirratt, 2009). Research has not yet, however, assessed their impact on trans women living with HIV, nor has it examined how various types of stigma may shape community connectedness and social support. The data used in this study were collected through the Trans PULSE Project, a community-based research (CBR) project that investigated the impact of social exclusion and discrimination on the health of trans people in Ontario, Canada. Trans women living with HIV were interviewed and analyses were conducted on 14 transcripts in order to understand the ways in which various types of stigma shape community connectedness, social support, and well-being for trans women. Stigma was described as a result of gender identity, HIV status, and the women’s intersectional identities. Through the discussion of stigma, the women described the types of connections that they made with HIV/AIDS, LGBT/trans, and cultural communities. They also identified sources of social support that could include, family, friends, romantic relationships, sex workers and helping professionals.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season