Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Michael Woodford

Advisor Role

Professor & Associate Dean, PhD Program


Historically, much of the research pertaining to transgender and gender diverse (trans) health and wellbeing has been conducted in ways that are reductive, pathologizing and exploitative. Trans activists and scholars express concerns about how such research contributes to pervasive negative perceptions, stigma, and cisgenderism, reinforcing stereotypical, binary ideas of trans people as both damaged and dangerous, vulnerable and heroic. Ongoing negative media attention and harmful policy decisions rooted in these views demonstrate the importance of offering alternatives to these reductive, deficit-based narratives associated with trans people. In response, strengths-based research oriented around the construct of resilience is increasing; yet approached uncritically, this research risks perpetuating the problems it is intended to address. This critical interpretive synthesis (CIS) study used a constructivist lens, drawing on queer and intersectionality theories, to examine the study of resilience in qualitative research with trans populations. The study examined a purposive sample of peer reviewed, qualitative studies published between January 2010 and March 2021 that took up implicit or explicitly critical, social justice perspectives to resilience or strengths-focused research with trans populations, attempting to answer the question: how are researchers approaching the study of resilience with trans populations from a critical, social justice perspective? The findings offer a guide to researchers seeking to engage in resilience-oriented research with trans populations. Emerging from three central stances taken by researchers: 1) Attending to power; 2) inviting complexity; and 3) orienting toward change, the Web of Transformative Trans Resilience Research (WTTRR) model weaves together eight strands of action and orientation that researchers can use to ground their work with trans populations in a liberatory and transformative framework and generate new pathways toward empowerment, acceptance and change for trans people.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Available for download on Friday, January 27, 2023