Social Transition, Coming Out, and Challenging Transnormativity: Non-Binary Experiences in Healthcare
Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
Transgender and non-binary individuals are highly stigmatized in North America, and this has staggering adverse effects on their physical and mental health. This stigma is structured and driven by cisnormativity and transnormativity, ubiquitous sets of social rules that determine “right” and “wrong” ways to do gender. Non-binary people experience excess stigma from cisgender (i.e. not transgender) people for “deviating” from the rules, but also from within the transgender community for not adhering to medical and binary definitions of transness. Specifically, non-binary people may choose not to transition medically, but very little research has been done on this. A sample of 12 non-binary participants was selected from a larger qualitative study about transgender experiences of discrimination. Interviews about healthcare experiences and thoughts on transition were thematically coded. Themes emerged relating to transnormativity, transition (medical and social), and coming out in healthcare environments. Participants felt pressure in medical settings to adhere to the gender binary and transition medically. However, many participants chose not to transition medically or desired to “mix and match” their medical transition. Social transition was important for most participants, including changing name, pronouns, and gender expression. In medical settings, participants were constantly assessing cues of safety in weighing their decision to come out as non-binary to their provider or not.
Burchell, Drew, "Social Transition, Coming Out, and Challenging Transnormativity: Non-Binary Experiences in Healthcare" (2020). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2322.