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The Lived Experience of Identity Development for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Individuals Who Have Survived Complex Trauma




White, Kevin

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



This study utilized a transcendental phenomenological framework to examine the lived experiences of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals who have experienced complex trauma. Participants completed semi-structured interviews exploring their experiences of identity development and what interaction if any, complex trauma had with their development. Seven participants completed interviews, and phenomenological reduction of interview transcripts and inductive coding resulted in seven emergent themes making up the essence of the experience: (1) Disconnection, (2) Suppressing Awareness, (3) Leaning In, (4) Adversity, (5) Establishing Consistency, (6) Interactive Growth and Discovery, and (7) Developing Individual Perspective. The implications of research findings, limitations, and directions for further inquiry are discussed.