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A phenomenological study of the lived experiences of genderqueer individuals
AdvisorHarrison, Thomas C.
Counseling and Educational Psychology
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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences, including the thoughts and feelings, of genderqueer individuals; including their experience across domains, academic, professional/employment, medical, societal, family, and in general. Secondarily, the study explored how genderqueer people experienced mental health services, as well as how mental health professionals could more effectively provide treatment services to the genderqueer population. The literature focusing broadly on transgender lived experiences was scarce and precisely focused on unique portions of the overall population. Literature focusing strictly on genderqueer individuals’ lived experiences was close to nonexistent. Transcendental phenomenology was used to identify themes in the interview data from eight participants as they discussed their gender non-binary identity. The themes included experiences of discrimination and oppression; pressure to conform to the gender binary system in order to be acknowledged; loss of identity; intersection of multiple aspects of identity; recommendations for mental health professionals serving the genderqueer population; recommendations for genderqueer peers accessing mental health services; and the experience of being empowered. The findings were discussed and themes germane to the mental health field were considered. Implications for future research were discussed.