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Transgender College Students: An Exploratory Study of Perceptions, Engagement, and Educational Outcomes

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We explored transgender students' perceptions, engagement, and educational outcomes across 17 dimensions of the collegiate experience. Data were collected as part of a national study and represent a total of 91 transgender-identified college students as well as matching samples of nontransgender LGB and heterosexual peers for comparative purposes. Results suggest some variation within the transgender student population (i.e., male to female, female to male, intersexed) as well as significant differences in perceptions of campus climate and educational outcomes between transgender students and their nontransgender LGB and heterosexual peers.
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Transgender College Students: An Exploratory Study of Perceptions,
Engagement, and Educational Outcomes
John P. Dugan
Michelle L. Kusel
Dawn M. Simounet
Journal of College Student Development, Volume 53, Number 5, September/October
2012, pp. 719-736 (Article)
Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press
DOI: 10.1353/csd.2012.0067
For additional information about this article
Access Provided by Loyola University @ Chicago at 09/25/12 2:04PM GMT
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/csd/summary/v053/53.5.dugan.html
S/O      719
Transgender College Students: An Exploratory
Study of Perceptions, Engagement, and
Educational Outcomes
John P. Dugan Michelle L. Kusel Dawn M. Simounet
We explored transgender students’ perceptions,
engagement, and educational outcomes across
17 dimensions of the collegiate experience.
Data were collected as part of a national
study and represent a total of 91 transgender-
identied college students as well as matching
samples of nontransgender LGB and heterosexual
peers for comparative purposes. Results suggest
some variation within the transgender student
population (i.e., male to female, female to male,
intersexed) as well as signicant dierences in
perceptions of campus climate and educational
outcomes between transgender students and their
nontransgender LGB and heterosexual peers.
e minimal research dedicated to the study
of the transgender college student population
reects the degree to which deeply engrained
assumptions of a binary gender system shape
both educational research and practice (Beemyn,
2003, 2005b; Bilodeau, 2009; Carter, 2000;
Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton, & Renn, 2010;
Sanlo, 2001). Much of the limited research
aggregates transgender college students with
their lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) peers,
assuming the needs of the populations are
similar (Pusch, 2005; Renn, 2007). The
extant literature also tends to emphasize
identity development and campus climate
issues (Bieschke, Eberz, & Wilson, 2000;
Carter, 2000; Pusch, 2005). As the number
of college students identifying as transgender
John P. Dugan is Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago. Michelle L. Kusel is Assistant
Director of Leadership at Elon University and Dawn M. Simounet is Coordinator of Student Involvement for
Leadership at Lynn University.
or questioning their gender identity increases
(Beemyn, 2003; McKinney, 2005), so too does
the need to understand their unique educational
experiences. e purpose of this research was
to contribute to foundational knowledge
regarding transgender college students through
the exploration of perceptions, engagement,
and educational outcomes associated with the
collegiate environment.
DEFINING THE TRANSGENDER
POPULATION
Given the continually evolving conceptu-
ali zation of the term transgender and the
minimal attention the population has received
in the broader psychological and educa-
tional literature (Beemyn, 2005b; Bilodeau,
2005, 2009; Pusch, 2005; Rands, 2009), it
becomes important to both define termi-
nology and understand the context in which
it has developed. Most Western cultures
interchange the denitions of gender (e.g.,
socially constructed learned behaviors) and
sex (e.g., biological characteristics; Sausa,
2002) imposing binary (i.e., male or female)
limitations to classications (Beemyn, 2003;
Bilodeau, 2005, 2009; Bilodeau & Renn,
2005; Carter, 2000; Ekins & King, 2006;
Evans et al., 2010; Lev, 2006). is binary
system largely informs the social construction
of gender and is typically pervasive, inuencing
720 Journal of College Student Development
Dugan, Kusel, & Simounet
everything from social interactions to scientic
research (Bilodeau, 2005; Chen-Hayes, 2001;
Gagne, Tewksbury, & McGaughey, 1997;
Lees, 1998; Sausa, 2002). Cultural inuences
contribute to normative assumptions regarding
gender identity as both xed and biologically
dened (Gagne et al., 1997; Pusch, 2005).
Increasingly, however, xed gender assumptions
are being challenged with the recognition that
identity is typically internally dened with
exploration beginning at a young age (Chen-
Hayes, 2001; Lees, 1998).
Especially salient for individuals identi fying
as transgender is the notion that gender identity
falls along a continuum (Bilodeau, 2009;
Sausa, 2002). Although transgender individuals
continue to work on a common language
(Beemyn, 2003; Carter, 2000), transgender has
come to represent and serve as an umbrella term
to include individuals whose gender identities
do not comply with binary assumptions
(Beemyn, 2003; Carter, 2000; Ekins & King,
2006; Rands, 2009; Renn & Bilodeau, 2005)
and whose birth sex deviates from their internal
identication (Bilodeau, 2005). is includes
male-to-female (MtF) or female-to-male (FtM)
individuals whose anatomical features fit a
prescribed male or female denition, but their
gender identity does not match their biological
sex (Beemyn, 2003; Bilodeau, 2005; Carter,
2000). Intersexed refers to individuals whose
anatomical features do not t the prescribed
denitions of male or female (Dreger, 2007).
Intersexed individuals are at times included with
MtF and FtM transgender-identied individuals
in the psychology literature (Carroll & Gilroy,
2002; Chen-Hayes, 2001), but are often absent
altogether from the educational knowledge base.
Transgender College Students
It is dicult to determine the exact number of
students currently included in the transgender
college population, since measurement tech-
niques do not exist to properly capture this
data with most survey research not even
listing transgender as a response option
(Beemyn, 2005a; Sausa, 2002). is diculty
is magnified when transgender students
experience identity development stages in
which they may repress their gender identity
(Lees, 1998). Scholars suggest the number
of transgender students enrolled in higher
education is rising (Beemyn, 2005a; Bilodeau,
2009; Evans et al., 2010; McKinney, 2005)
with greater visibility exposing not only the
lack of services student aairs departments
provide, but also the lack of basic knowledge
on how transgender students experience
college and their unique developmental needs
(Beemyn, 2005b; Bilodeau, 2005, 2009;
McKinney, 2005).
Most institutions offer only marginal
attention to the needs of transgender students,
with support often provided through inclu-
sion with LGB student services (Beemyn,
2003). There is an assumption that the
needs of transgender students are similar to
those of LGB students despite gender and
sexual identities representing distinct social
constructions (Carter, 2000; Pusch, 2005;
Sausa, 2002). is is concerning given that
the needs and experiences of transgender
students can vary greatly from LGB students
(Bilodeau, 2005; Renn, 2007). Although the
amount of literature discussing LGBT student
issues is increasing, this literature tends to
focus on issues of sexual orientation rather
than gender identity (Bilodeau, 2005). e
focus on sexual orientation does not address
transgender students since gender identity may
not determine sexual orientation. Transgender
students may dier in their sexual orientation
identification including, but not limited
to, identifying as heterosexual, lesbian, gay,
bisexual, or asexual (Ekins & King, 2006; Lees,
1998). Furthermore, transgender students
S/O      721
Transgender College Students
experience issues that LGB students do not,
particularly whenever gender segregation is
involved (Carter, 2000). Examples of such
segregation include the use of gender-specic
restrooms and sleeping spaces in residence
halls (Beemyn, 2003, 2005a; Carter, 2000;
Nakamura, 1998).
Research on Transgender
College Students
e literature to date on college students who
identify as transgender is scant (Beemyn,
2005b; Evans et al., 2010; McKinney, 2005;
Sanlo, 2001). Much of the writing is conceptual
in nature, offering general ideas on how
transgender students would be better served
(e.g., Beemyn, 2005a; Beemyn, Curtis, Davis,
& Tubbs, 2005; Beemyn, Domingue, Pettit,
& Smith, 2005). Although this frames a
portrait of perceived student needs, it does
not provide the whole picture nor is it a true
empirical representation. Empirical writing on
the population is even more scarce with most
studies collapsing transgender students in with
LGB students instead of looking at each as a
unique population (Bilodeau, 2005; Ostick &
Komives, 2006; Pusch, 2005; Dugan, Komives,
& Segar, 2008). Of particular importance—
and for which there is only limited empirical
evidence—is an understanding of three dimen-
sions of transgender students’ college experi-
ences: perceptions of climate, educational
outcomes, and engagement.
Empirical research examining transgender
students’ perceptions of campus climate
generally suggests increased harassment and
experiences with discrimination (Rankin &
Beemyn, 2011; McKinney, 2005; Rankin,
2003). A multi-institutional study by Rankin
and Beemyn (2011) with transgender partici-
pants (N = 50) reported perceptions of a hostile
campus climate with students expressing fear
for their safety due to their gender identity.
Participants indicated that this fear forced
them to hide their identity from others while
on campus. Similarly, McKinney (2005)
found in a qualitative study that transgender
students (N = 75) frequently experienced
institutional discrimination through campus
policies. Furthermore, respondents commonly
expressed that faculty and staff were not
adequately educated on transgender issues and
therefore not prepared to support transgender
students. Transgender students in McKinney’s
study reported few positive experiences
with campus counseling centers as well as
inadequate services available at campus health
centers. All of these factors contributed to
negative perceptions of the campus climate. A
national study of LGBT students, faculty, and
sta (Rankin, 2003) found that 41% of the
transgender participants (N = 68) experienced
harassment on campus; comparatively, only
28% of LGB individuals in the study reported
harassment. Brown, Clarke, Gortmaker, and
Robinson-Keilig (2004) employed a similar
strategy of sampling LGBT faculty, staff,
and students along with their heterosexual
counterparts as a means to examine campus
climate. Results from LGBT respondents
similarly reected the negative perceptions
identied in other studies; however, a lack
of sampling information makes it impossible
to determine how many of the individuals
in the LGBT sample actually identied as
transgender. is confounds the results and
draws into question the degree to which
ndings can be generalized to the transgender
population specically.
e study of transgender students’ educa-
tional outcome achievement is comprised
almost exclusively of studies on identity
formation. Bilodeau (2005) conducted a
qualitative study applying D’Augelli’s (1994)
lifespan model of sexual orientation identity
development to transgender students. is
model identied dynamic rather than static
stages occurring throughout the lifespan of
722 Journal of College Student Development
Dugan, Kusel, & Simounet
an individual rejecting the idea that identity
is formed sequentially and that individuals
arrive at the nal stage of the model during
early adulthood. D’Augelli also armed that
external elements assist in shaping identity.
Bilodeau’s (2005) research with transgender
students confirmed this and extended the
work by identifying six stages that accounted
for external factors as well as dynamic lifelong
development in the identity development
process of transgender students. e study
also situated peer interactions and student
organizational involvement as significant
contributors to the identity development
processes of transgender students.
Unlike identity development research,
LGB and transgender students are often
examined collectively in the limited research
exploring transgender student engagement on
campus. Studies by Renn and Bilodeau (2005)
and Renn (2007) included transgender college
students and explored the impact of LGBT
organizational involvement and activism.
Both studies suggested positive links between
involvement in these types of organizations and
students’ identity and leadership development.
Renn further suggested that mentoring
relationships were developmentally important
for participants in the study. Gonyea and
Moore (2007) used data from a National
Survey of Student Engagement experimental
subset to explore LGBT student engagement.
Results indicated LGBT students who were
more publicly open about their identities were
also more likely to report faculty mentoring
and participation in a wide range of enriching
educational experiences (e.g., study abroad,
community service, learning communities,
cocurricular activities, senior experiences).
Research Questions
Much of the existing research on LGBT
students examines the topics of identity
development (e.g., Bilodeau, 2005; D’Augelli,
1994) or campus climate issues (e.g., Brown
et al., 2004; McKinney, 2005; Pusch, 2005;
Rankin, 2003; Rankin & Beemyn, 2011).
Quantitative research is particularly sparse
with many researchers aggregating transgender
student data with that collected from LGB
peers in order to meet minimum sample
size requirements (Bieschke et al., 2000;
Carter, 2000; Pusch, 2005). ere is no clear
evidence indicating the appropriateness of this
generalizing, drawing into question the extent
to which ndings accurately reect transgender
students’ perceptions of climate, educational
outcomes, and engagement. us, the purpose
of this research was to contribute to founda-
tional knowledge regarding transgender
college students through the exploration of
the following questions:
1. Are there signicant within-group dier-
ences (i.e., MtF, FtM, intersexed, prefer
not to say) among transgender college
students’ perceptions (e.g., sense of
belonging, campus climate), engagement
(e.g., mentoring relationships, commu-
nity service involvement, student group
involve ment, leadership experiences,
inter actions across dierence, academic
learn ing experi ences), and/or development
(e.g., cognitive complexity, leadership
efficacy, social responsibility) in the
collegiate environment?
2. Are there significant between-group
dierences among transgender, nontrans-
gender LGB, and/or nontransgender
heterosexual college students’ perceptions,
engagement, and/or development in the
collegiate environment?
METHODS
Sample
Data for this research were collected as part
of the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership
(MSL) at 101 institutions representing 31 states
S/O      723
Transgender College Students
and the District of Columbia. Institutions
with a total undergraduate enrollment of less
than 4,000 students provided full population
samples; all other institutions provided a
simple random sample of approximately 4,000
undergraduates. Sample sizes were calculated
using a desired condence level of 95% and a
condence interval of ±3. Oversampling was
conducted at a rate of 70% to increase the
likelihood of meeting or exceeding the 30%
response rate typical in web-based survey
research (Couper, 2000; Crawford, Couper,
& Lamais, 2001). Data collection generated
115,632 completed surveys reecting a 34%
response rate.
For the purposes of this research only those
cases were selected in which the respondent
identied as transgender and completed at least
90% of the core instrument. is resulted in a
total of 143 cases. Given the small size of the
sample and an inability to assess the degree to
which the sample reected the full population
(because of an absence of prior quantitative
research), a rigorous cleaning process was
employed to ensure any manipulated cases
were removed. e researchers employed six
criteria to screen the transgender-identied
data and cases were eliminated in which
evidence appeared to indicate a manipulation
of responses. Criteria included: (a) whether
the campus-reported racial demographic
data matched the participant’s self-reported
racial data; (b) whether the campus-reported
class standing matched the participant’s
self-reported class standing; (c) whether
the participant made an overselection of
demographic choices, such as being aliated
with all 23 response options for religion or all
10 disability categories; (d) whether there was a
lack of variance in response ranges, particularly
across constructs with dierent measurement
parameters or negative response items, as when
a participant always selected 1; (e) whether a
participant took the minimal time to complete
the survey (e.g., the average completion time
was 25 minutes and an individual took only
6 minutes); and (f) whether there were any
inappropriate or explicitly negative reactions
to the transgender identier in an open-ended
question (e.g., “I really loved the transgender
option that you included, you people obviously
have no sense. ... stop the politically correct,
pro-homosexual/perversion”). Criteria were
considered jointly across dimensions rather
than uniquely with eliminated cases typically
demonstrating concerns across at least three
of the six criteria. A total of 52 cases were
removed in which it was likely that the
participant falsely identied as transgender;
thus, the nal sample was comprised of 91
transgender-identied participants.
e average age of transgender respondents
was 22 years old (SD = 4.25) and the sample
was distributed relatively equally across class
years. Full-time undergraduate enrollment
was reported by 97% of the sample, and 13%
identied as rst-generation college students.
e racial composition of the group was as
follows: 62% White, 19% Multiracial, 6%
Middle Eastern, 3% African American / Black,
2% Latino, 1% Native American, 1% Asian
American, and 6% indicated that their race was
not listed as a response option. Respondents
further classied their transgender status in
the following ways: 37% preferred not to say
(n = 34), 32% identied as FtM (n = 29),
21% intersexed (n = 19), and 10% MtF
(n = 9). Additionally, respondents varied in
their reported sexual orientation with 45%
identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (n = 41),
19% as questioning (n = 17), 19% preferring
not to share this information (n = 17), and
17% as heterosexual (n = 16).
To answer the questions posed in this
study, matched random samples of 91 LGB-
identified and 91 heterosexual-identified
students were also selected. Given the overlap
of identication of transgender students across
724 Journal of College Student Development
Dugan, Kusel, & Simounet
these categories, all transgender cases were rst
removed. e nontransgender LGB-matched
sample was drawn from a total of 4,015 cases
and the nontransgender heterosexual-matched
sample was derived from a total of 82,668
cases.
Instrument and Variable Selection
e MSL survey instrument was designed to
reect an adapted version of Astins (1991)
college impact model and solicited data
related to students’ precollege characteristics,
collegiate experiences, and educational out-
comes. Astins model was adapted for use
with a cross-sectional research design in
which precollege data were collected using
retrospective questions.
Astin and Lee (2003) expressed concern
regarding attempts to simulate longitudinal
designs particularly when results were used
as an indicator of institutional eectiveness.
This study, however, is not concerned with
the comparison of dependent measures across
schools, given its exploratory nature, limited
sample sizes, and emphasis on student-level data.
The MSL survey instrument collects
mostly self-report data. Although concerns
exist regarding the veracity of self-report
approaches in survey research, scholars do
suggest that when rigorous methodological
standards are in place, self-report data can be
both accurate and appropriate (Anaya, 1999;
Astin, 1993; Gonyea, 2005; Pike, 1995).
Development of the MSL instrument adhered
to this and underwent a signicant number
of pilot tests as well as rigorous psychometric
evaluation to ensure reliability and validity of
measures along with ease of participant use
(Dugan & Komives, 2007; Dugan, Komives, &
Associates, 2009). e selection of dependent
variables for this study reected three criteria:
(a) those examined in the limited existing
research on transgender college students,
(b) engagement experiences consistent with
influential measures from college impact
research and principals of good practice in
undergraduate education (Chickering &
Gamson, 1987; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005),
and (c) identied core outcomes of higher
education (Association of American Colleges
and Universities, 2007; National Association of
Student Personnel Administrators & American
College Personnel Association, 2004). A list of
composite measures, reliabilities, and factor
loadings appears in Table 1.
Students’ perceptions of campus climate
were measured using two composite scales
representing sense of belonging and nondis-
crimi natory climate. Both scales were created
using exploratory factor analysis with principal
component extraction and employed Likert-
type response continuums ranging from 1
(strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). e
sense of belonging measure was comprised
of three items, and the reliability estimate
with this sample was .91. Nondiscriminatory
climate was comprised of ve items and the
reliability estimate was .85.
Several of the collegiate engagement
experiences (i.e., study abroad, internship
experi ences, learning community participation,
living–learning community involvement,
research with a faculty member, first-year
courses, involvement in formal leadership
programs, and community service involvement)
were measured using simple dichotomous
indicators of participation or nonparticipation.
Degree of student involvement in clubs and
organizations and participation in positional
leadership roles were scaled measures ranging
from 1 (never) to 5 (much of the time). Frequency
of mentoring by faculty, student aairs sta,
and peers were measured using single items
with response ranges from 1 (never) to 4
(often). Degree of involvement in sociocultural
conversations with peers was measured using
a six-item composite measure scaled from 1
(never) to 4 (very often). Cronbach’s alpha level
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Transgender College Students
TABLE 1.
Reliabilities and Factor Loadings for Composite Measures
Measures
Factor
Loadinga α b
Sense of Belonging .91
I feel valued as a person at this school .884
I feel accepted as a part of the campus community .917
I feel I belong on this campus .883
Nondiscriminatory Climate .85
Observed discriminatory words, behaviors or gestures directed at
people like me
.742
Encountered discrimination while attending this institution .790
Feel there is a general atmosphere of prejudice among students .758
Faculty have discriminated against people like me .828
Staff members have discriminated against people like me .829
Sociocultural Conversations With Peers .91
About different lifestyles/ customs .798
With those with values different than own .848
About major social issues .842
With those with different religious beliefs .822
About views regarding multiculturalism .838
With those with different political views .789
Complex Cognitive Skills .88
Ability to put ideas together and to see relationships between ideas .843
 Abilitytolearnonown,pursueideas,andndinformationyouneed .851
Ability to critically analyze ideas and information .874
Learning more about things that are new to you .871
LeadershipEfcacy .88
Leading others .871
Organize group tasks to accomplish goal .900
Taking initiative to improve something .864
Working with team on group project .764
Socially Responsible Leadershipc.93
a Factor loadings were calculated using the full data set.
b Cronbach’s alpha levels were calculated using the subset of data employed in this study.
c Factor loadings are not provided, given the scale is comprised of 71 items, but are available upon request
fromtherstauthor.
726 Journal of College Student Development
Dugan, Kusel, & Simounet
for use with this sample was .91.
The educational outcome reflecting
perceived gains in complex cognitive skills
was calculated using a composite measure
comprised of four items in which students
responded on a continuum ranging from 1
(not grown at all) to 4 (grown very much).
e scale was designed to measure “students
perceptions of their cognitive growth while in
college” (Inkelas, Vogt, Longerbeam, Owen, &
Johnson, 2006, p. 58). e reliability of the
measure with this sample was .88.
Exploratory factor analysis using principal
component extraction was used to create a
four-item scale measuring leadership ecacy,
which was dened as an individual’s perception
of one’s capacity to perform leadership-
related tasks and processes (Bandura, 1997;
McCormick, Tanguma, & López-Forment,
2002). Participants responded on a continuum
ranging from 1 (not at all condent) to 4 (very
condent). Cronbachs alpha level was .88.
The Socially Responsible Leadership
Scale, a 71-item composite measure, was
used to measure leadership capacity. e scale
is theoretically grounded using the social
change model (Higher Education Research
Institute, 1996), which denes leadership as “a
purposeful, collaborative, values-based process
that results in positive social change” (Komives,
Wagner, & Associates, 2009, p. xii). The scale
employed a Likert-type response continuum
ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly
agree), and the reliability estimate was .93 for
this sample.
Data Collection and Analytic Plan
Human subjects approval was granted for the
overall MSL study at the home institution of
the principal investigator as well as at each of
the participating campuses. Data collection
occurred solely via the internet using standards
of web-based survey research (Crawford,
McCabe, & Pope, 2005; Groves et al., 2004).
Invitations to participate were disseminated
between January and April of 2009 with small
incentives oered at both the national and
local levels to encourage participation. e
research questions examined dierences among
transgender students and between-transgender
and nontransgender LGB and heterosexual
students using one-way between-groups
analyses of variance (ANOVAs) and chi-square
tests of independence.
LIMITATIONS
Results from this study should be interpreted
in the context of a number of limitations. First,
dependent variables were selected for their
consistency with prior research and principals
of good practice in undergraduate education
(Chickering & Gamson, 1987; Pascarella &
Terenzini, 2005). Variable selection was also
limited to only those measures included in the
MSL survey instrument and cannot capture
the full array of perceptions, engagement
experiences, and educational outcomes
associated with the collegiate experience. us,
caution should be taken in inferring results
beyond the set of variables employed here.
Second, the sample size of transgender
students in this research is small. e lack of
substantive, existing, quantitative research with
the transgender student population also makes
it dicult to determine the degree to which
this sample is reective of the larger population
(Beemyn, 2005a; Bieschke et al., 2000;
Carter, 2000; Pusch, 2005; Sausa, 2002).
Furthermore, a large segment of transgender
participants selected prefer not to say as their
subidentication; this may reect the diculty
of capturing the full array of identity labels
adopted by the transgender community using
inherently reductionist quantitative approaches
(Beemyn, 2003, 2005a; Bilodeau, 2005,
2009). Additionally, the small sample size
limits the types of statistical analyses that can
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Transgender College Students
TABLE 2.
Means, Standard Deviations, and One-Way ANOVA Results for
DependentMeasuresandTransgenderSubidentications
Female to
Male
Male to
Female Intersexed
Prefer Not
to Say
Dependent Measures MSD MSD MSD MSD F(3, 87) η2
Sense of Belonging 3.34 0.87 2.74 1.49 2.86 1.29 3.09 1.13 1.04 .03
Nondiscriminatory Climate 3.11 0.80 2.89 1.16 3.28 1.28 2.94 1.24 0.47 .02
Involvement in Student
Groups 3.28 1.51 3.44 1.24 3.00 1.37 3.41 1.71 0.33 .01
Leadership Positions in
Student Groups 2.72 1.67 1.56 1.33 2.32 1.45 3.24 1.67 3.18 *.10
Faculty Mentoring 3.14 0.99 1.56 1.13 1.79 1.08 2.53 1.24 7.80 *** .21
Student Affairs Mentoring 1.93 1.28 1.22 0.67 1.58 0.96 1.97 1.19 1.39 .05
Peer Mentoring 2.41 1.35 1.89 1.36 2.21 1.32 2.38 1.23 0.45 .02
Sociocultural
Conversations With Peers 2.88 0.89 2.69 1.01 2.61 1.07 3.03 0.85 0.96 .03
Complex Cognitive Skills 2.97 0.73 2.25 1.06 2.88 0.93 2.88 0.87 1.66 .05
LeadershipEfcacy 3.02 0.91 2.28 1.00 2.95 0.81 2.99 0.80 1.89 .06
Socially Responsible
Leadership 3.88 0.51 3.37 0.90 3.58 0.63 3.74 0.54 2.20 .07
* p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p < .001.
be conducted. Results presented here represent
correlational relationships rather than causal
ones, which draws into question the degree to
which ndings would persist in the context of
more complex models. Finally, of particular
analytic concern are the sample sizes for
transgender subclassications, which in the
case of MtF students is in the single digits.
is required a strict attention to statistical
assumptions to avoid violations and potentially
biased results.
e stated limitations represent important
considerations for the interpretation of
ndings; however, they also undergird the
need for this research which is echoed in
the calls from scholars and educators to
increase the degree of inquiry on transgender
students (Beemyn, 2005b; Evans et al.,
2010; McKinney, 2005; Sanlo, 2001). is
research provides important foundational
evidence on transgender students’ experiences
and suggestions for the future study of
transgender students in empirical research
using quantitative designs.
RESULTS
The first research question used one-way,
between-group ANOVAs to explore the
impact of transgender subidentication (i.e.,
FtM, MtF, intersexed, prefer not to say) on
dependent measures. Interpretation of results
relied solely on eta-square eect size measures
rather than signicance tests, given the sample
sizes were so small. Table 2 provides the full
list of ANOVA results for the rst research
728 Journal of College Student Development
Dugan, Kusel, & Simounet
TABLE 3.
Chi-Square Analyses of Relationships Between Dependent Measures and
TransgenderSubidentications
Dependent Measures
Female to
Male
Male to
Female Intersexed
Prefer Not
to Say χ2df
Community Service 45 22 21 41 3.95 3
Formal Leadership
Programs 41 22 53 41 2.34 3
Study Abroada10 0 21 24 4.08 3
Internships 45 33 42 35 0.79 3
Learning Communitiesa17 11 26 32 2.89 3
Living–Learning
Communitiesa10 0 16 21 3.01 3
Research With Faculty 31 0 21 32 4.45 3
First-Year Seminara62 22 53 56 4.48 3
Note. Distributions listed above represent the percentage of participants that indicated Yes they had participated.
a Indicates analyses violated the minimum expected cell frequency and results may not be representative.
question. Table 3 includes distributions
and chi-square statistics for the categorical
dependent measures, none of which revealed
statistically signicant relationships.
On the dependent measures of student
perceptions of campus climate mean dierences
reflected only small effect sizes. ANOVAs
examining engagement experiences revealed
signicant dierences with a large eect size on
the faculty mentoring variable, F(3, 87) = 7.80,
p < .001, η2 = .21. Post hoc comparisons
using the Tukey HSD test indicated that
the mean score for FtM students (M = 3.14;
SD = 0.99) was signicantly greater than the
mean scores for MtF (M = 1.56; SD = 1.13;
d = 1.49) and intersexed students (M = 1.79;
SD = 1.08; d = 1.30). In both cases the
dierences reected large eect sizes. Statistical
signicance with a medium eect size was also
reached on the variable examining involvement
in positional leadership roles, F(3, 87) = 3.18,
p < .05, η2 = .10. Post hoc comparisons using
the Tukey HSD test indicated that the mean
score for transgender students who preferred
not to report subidentication (M = 3.24;
SD = 1.67) was significantly greater than
the mean score for MtF students (M = 1.56;
SD = 1.33) with a large eect size (d = 1.11).
ANOVA results for the educational
outcome of socially responsible leadership
resulted in signicant mean dierences with
a large eect size, F(3, 87) = 2.20, p > .05,
η2 = .07. Post hoc comparisons revealed FtM
students reported higher capacities for socially
responsible leadership (M = 3.88; SD = 0.51)
than their MtF peers (M = 3.37; SD = 0.90)
with a medium eect (d = 0.70) as well as
their intersexed peers (M = 3.58; SD = 0.63)
with a medium effect (d = 0.50). MtF
students reported similarly lower capacities
than transgender students who preferred
not to report subidentication (M = 3.74;
SD = 0.54) with a medium eect (d = 0.50).
ANOVA results for the educational outcome
of leadership efficacy indicated significant
mean dierences with a medium eect size,
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Transgender College Students
F(3, 87) = 1.89, p > .05, η2 = .06. Post
hoc comparisons indicated MtF students
reported lower leadership ecacy (M = 2.28;
SD = 1.00) than peers from each of the other
subidentications: FtM (M = 3.02; SD = 0.91;
d = 0.80), intersexed (M = 2.95; SD = 0.81;
d = 0.70), and transgender students who
preferred not to report subidentification
(M = 2.99; SD = 0.80; d = 0.80).
e second research question examined
relationships between transgender college
students and their nontransgender LGB and
heterosexual peers. Significant mean dif fer-
ences were identied for sense of belong ing,
F(2, 176.56) = 8.79, p < .001, η2 = .07, and
nondiscriminatory climate, F(2,174.30) = 7.33,
p < .001, η2 = .05. In both cases, Levenes
tests of the equality of error variances were
significant, prompting the use of Welchs
t test, a robust test of equality of means,
in the interpretation of results. Post hoc
comparisons using the Tukey HSD test on sense
of belonging indicated that the mean score for
transgender students (M = 3.09; SD = 1.13)
was signicantly lower than the mean scores
for nontransgender LGB (M = 3.64; SD = 1.01;
d = .5) and nontransgender heterosexual
students (M = 3.66; SD = 0.81; d = .6) with
both differences demonstrating moderate
eect sizes. Post hoc comparisons using the
Tukey HSD test on nondiscriminatory climate
indicated that the mean score for transgender
students (M = 3.06; SD = 1.11) was signicantly
lower than the mean score for nontransgender
LGB students with a small eect size (M = 3.45;
SD = 0.96; d = .4) as well as nontransgender
heterosexual students with a moderate eect
size (M = 3.60; SD = 0.73; d = .6).
No signicant dierences were identied
across the dependent engagement measures;
however, signicant mean dierences were identi-
ed for the educational outcomes reect ing gains
in complex cognitive skills, F(2,174.42) = 5.29,
p < .01, η2 = .05, and socially responsible
leadership, F(2,174.52) = 6.65, p < .01,
η2 = .06. In both cases, Levenes tests of the
equality of error variances were significant,
again prompting the use of the Welch statistic
in the interpretation of results. Post hoc
comparisons using the Tukey HSD test on gains
in complex cognitive skills revealed that the
mean score for transgender students (M = 2.85;
SD = 0.87) was signicantly lower than the
mean scores for nontransgender LGB students
with a small eect size (M = 3.18; SD = 0.70;
d = .4) as well as nontransgender heterosexual
students with a moderate eect size (M = 3.18;
SD = 0.56; d = .5). Post hoc comparisons using
the Tukey HSD test on socially responsible
leadership indicated that the mean score for
transgender students (M = 3.72; SD = 0.60)
was signicantly lower than the mean scores
for nontransgender LGB (M = 3.98; SD = 0.38;
d = .5) and nontransgender heterosexual students
(M = 3.95; SD = 0.38; d = .5) with both
dierences demonstrating moderate eect sizes.
Table 4 provides the full list of ANOVA results
for the second research question, and Table 5
includes distributions and chi-squarestatistics.
DISCUSSION
Within-Group Analyses of Differences
The first research question examined 17
dimensions of transgender college students’
perceptions, engagement experiences, and
educational outcomes. ese ndings represent
one of the rst quantitative studies to explore
within-group dierences in the transgender
population. Meaningful differences across
transgender subidentities (i.e., FtM, MtF,
intersexed, prefer not to say) with moderate or
large eects were only identied on 4 of the 17
dependent measures, although most variables
reected at least a small eect. at transgender
students appear to have more in common with
one another than they dier may reect shared
experiences derived from marginalization as
730 Journal of College Student Development
Dugan, Kusel, & Simounet
TABLE 4.
Means, Standard Deviations, and One-Way ANOVA Results Comparing Measures
for Transgender, LGB, and Heterosexual Students
Transgender LGBaHeterosexual
Measures MSD MSD MSD F(2, 270)
Sense of Belongingb3.09 1.13 3.64 1.01 3.67 0.81 8.79 **
Nondiscriminatory Climate 3.06 1.11 3.45 0.96 3.60 0.73 7.33 **
Involvement in Student Groups 3.29 1.52 3.15 1.46 3.04 1.35 0.638
Leadership Positions in
Student Groups 2.71 1.66 2.27 1.59 2.19 1.47 2.940
Faculty Mentoring 2.47 1.24 2.52 1.16 2.64 1.19 0.460
Student Affairs Mentoring 1.80 1.15 1.74 1.02 1.66 1.01 0.410
Peer Mentoring 2.31 1.29 2.53 1.34 2.59 1.27 1.210
Sociocultural Conversations
With Peersb2.86 0.93 2.97 0.82 2.65 0.74 3.300
Complex Cognitive Skillsb2.85 0.87 3.18 0.70 3.18 0.56 5.290 *
LeadershipEfcacy 2.92 0.87 3.05 0.73 3.05 0.68 0.940
Socially Responsible
Leadershipb3.72 0.60 3.98 0.38 3.95 0.38 6.650 *
a LGB = lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
b IndicatesLevene’stestwassignicantandinterpretationofsignicanceforthisvariableusedtheWelchtest
reectinganasymptoticallydistributedF statistic.
* p < .01. ** p < .001.
well as challenging the gender binary (Beemyn,
2003, 2005a; Bilodeau, 2005, 2009). is is
supported by Bilodeau’s (2009) research which
suggested that understanding the transgender
experience is incredibly dicult and often
deeply inaccessible to those who do not
experience it directly.
Within-group dierences among trans-
gender subidentications were evident across
two collegiate engagement experiences and
two educational outcomes. Consideration
of effect sizes suggested the magnitude of
the dierences between groups were quite
substantive. An interesting pattern emerged
related to transgender students’ leadership
perceptions and behaviors. MtF students in
particular reported lower leadership capa-
city, leadership ecacy, and attainment of
positional leadership roles, all of which are
inter connected. Ecacy is a powerful predictor
of leadership capacity (Dugan & Komives,
2010) and both contribute to actual attempts
to engage in leadership (McCormick et al.,
2002; Paglis & Green, 2002). A signicantly
lower degree of involvement in positional
leadership roles on the part of MtF transgender
students may reect an attempt to conform to
perceived gender norms. Some scholars suggest
that the transition between genders is further
complicated by the need to simultaneously
navigate changing social power and role
expectations (Bilodeau, 2009; Connell &
Messerschmidt, 2005; Warren, 1993), which
can be particularly shocking for individuals
transitioning from male to female given
the loss of male privilege. Examples of this
include increased experiences with sexual
harassment and/or dierential compensation
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TABLE 5.
Chi-Square Analyses of Relationships Between Sexual Orientation and
Collegiate Experiences
Transgender LGBaHeterosexual χ2df
Community Service 36 40 44 1.13 2
Formal Leadership
Programs 42 32 32 2.60 2
Study Abroad 17 19 14 0.59 2
Internships 40 43 40 0.27 2
Learning Communities 24 19 15 2.30 2
Living–Learning
Communities 14 14 64.66 2
Research With Faculty 26 20 18 2.28 2
First-Year Seminar 54 51 50 0.38 2
Note. Distributions listed above represent the percentage of participants that indicated Yes they had participated.
a LGB = lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
in the workplace (Warren, 1993). Decreased
involvement in positional leadership along with
lower perceptions of leadership capacity and
ecacy may reect MtF students’ subconscious
recognition of the signicant impediments to
womens attainment of positional leadership
roles that continue to exist in society (Carli &
Eagly, 2007; Rhode & Kellerman, 2007) and
a desire to conform to them as normative.
Additionally, MtF and intersexed students
reported significantly less mentoring by
faculty members than their FtM peers. is
is problematic given Renns (2007) assertion
of the developmental importance of faculty
mentoring for LGBT students. Scholars
suggest that females are aorded greater degrees
of freedom and experience increased social
tolerance when adopting masculine behaviors
and appearances in comparison with men
appropriating more feminine styles (Devor,
1997; Lev, 2006). Similarly, researchers found
that the rate of counseling referrals among
youth for perceived violations of gender norms
was signicantly greater for boys than girls
(Bradley & Zucker, 1997). ese claims seem
to support the notion that gender ambiguity,
deviations from socially constructed notions
of masculinity or relinquishing of maleness,
can illicit signicant negative reactions and
be considered an aront to “gendered norms
(Bilodeau, 2009; Connell & Messerschmidt,
2005; Hopkins, 2004; Kimmel, 1997). A
lower rate of mentoring may reect discomfort
on the part of faculty for the perceived
violation of socially constructed gender roles
and/or performative behaviors. is violation
may be considered more severe in the cases of
intersexed students whose ambiguity staunchly
rejects the binary gender system as well as
with MtF students whose transition may
be perceived as an assault on perceptions of
masculinity. ese issues may compound the
previously established lack of education for
faculty regarding transgender college students
(McKinney, 2005) and contribute to diering
rates of mentoring within the population.
732 Journal of College Student Development
Dugan, Kusel, & Simounet
Between-Group Analyses of
Differences
Transgender students did not report signicant
variations in their collegiate experiences from
their nontransgender LGB and heterosexual
peers, suggesting their patterns of engagement
in the college environment were not highly
divergent; however, this is likely a function of
their own initiative and not institutionalized
resources, given the hostile campus climate
and poor infrastructure to support transgender
students identied in existing literature (Beemyn,
2003; Carter, 2000; McKinney, 2005; Rankin,
2003; Rankin & Beemyn, 2011). Signicant
dierences were found between transgender
students and their peers’ perceptions of campus
climate. Consistent with previous research
(McKinney, 2005; Rankin, 2003; Rankin &
Beemyn, 2011), transgender students reported
more frequent encounters with harassment
and discrimination as well as a signicantly
lower sense of belonging within the campus
community. is is telling given transgender
students’ rates of participation in educationally
meaningful experiences (e.g., research with
a faculty member, internships, community
service, living–learning programs) that typically
contribute to a positive sense of belonging
did not vary from those reported by their
nontransgender LGB and heterosexual peers.
Transgender students also reported signi-
cantly lower capacity than their nontrans-
gender LGB and heterosexual peers across two
of the three educational outcomes measured
in this study. Signicantly lower scores on the
measure of gains in complex cognitive skills
may reect a lack of self-condence in the
ability to critically analyze ideas and not the
absence of actual ability. e exploration of a
transgender identity in and of itself requires
complex meaning-making frameworks that
challenge simple dichotomies; however,
transgender students are also forced to navigate
a social system that continuously reinforces
that how they make meaning with regards
to their identity is aberrant: their thinking is
often interrogated and assumed to be wrong
(Bilodeau, 2009; Bilodeau & Renn, 2005;
Carter, 2000). Transgender identication is still
listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
of Mental Disorders (American Psychological
Association, 2000) as a mental illness. If
transgender students systematically receive
messages from the external environment
suggesting that what and how they think is
not valid, it stands to reason that perceptions
of gains in their cognitive skills may be
negatively inuenced until they can develop
the appropriate coping skills and a more
internally dened self-concept.
Signicantly lower scores in capacity for
socially responsible leadership may reect the
within-group dierences across transgender
subidentities previously identied as well as
negative inuences from the broader social
system. Socially responsible leadership is
comprised of values across three domains:
the individual (i.e., consciousness of self,
congruence, and commitment), the group
(i.e., collaboration, common purpose, and
controversy with civility), and the societal
(i.e., citizenship). ese values interact and
contribute to an individual’s overall capacity
to contribute to change for the common
good. Depending on an individual’s status of
transgender identity development, the student
may be struggling with elements associated with
the individual values. It could be that struggles
with one’s sense of self decrease the overall
capacity for socially responsible leadership.
Conversely, the legitimacy of the leadership
model itself might be drawn into question with
regard to use with the transgender population.
Although socially responsible leadership has at
its core a deep commitment to social justice
(Astin & Astin, 2000; Komives et al., 2009),
transgender students may not be interested in
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Transgender College Students
contributing to the common good of a society
that sends such consistently negative messages
about their value.
Implications and Future Research
A number of implications for both professional
practice and future research stem from the
results of this study. First, the significantly
lower perceptions of campus climate and
educational outcomes reported by transgender
students bolster previous calls for increased
support mechanisms in the college environment
(Beemyn, 2005a; Beemyn, Curtis, et al.,
2005; Beemyn, Domingue, et al., 2005).
at transgender students’ educational gains
and perceptions of safety and belonging are
significantly lower than their peers suggests
the need for more direct attention. Enhancing
perceptions of campus climate should begin
with increasing the awareness of transgender
students’ needs as well as formal training
processes that educate faculty, sta, and peers.
Faculty and student affairs staff need to be
better prepared to engage in the developmental
advising and cognitive coaching necessary to
help transgender students recognize and navigate
oppressive social systems as well as support
movement towards more internally validated
meaning-making processes. Institutionally, an
audit of organizational structures, culture, and
policies may also be helpful in identifying both
explicit and implicit messages regarding gender
norms that marginalize transgender students.
Additionally, institutions may conclude that
combining transgender and LGB student services
is nancially and functionally necessary, but
they should also recognize that it is insucient.
Results from this study clearly illustrate dier-
ential perceptions of campus climate and gains
in educational outcomes between LGB and
transgender students. Oces that address both
populations are encouraged to consider these
dierences and nd ways to support the unique
developmental needs of transgender students.
Second, ndings related to variation in
faculty mentoring, positional leadership role
attainment rates, and leadership outcomes
by transgender subidentications suggest the
incredible power of normative assumptions
regarding masculinity and the fear of ambi-
guity. Training for faculty, sta, and students
would certainly assist in recognizing and
addressing these issues; however, support to
assist transgender students in developing the
necessary coping mechanisms should also be
provided, as they may be the victims of others’
projections of personal discomfort.
ird, these results have implications for
the design of future quantitative research on
transgender and LGB students. It is dicult to
determine the broad implications of transgender
within-group dierences across subidentities
in this research given small eects were present
across multiple variables. Certainly, replication
studies are merited that can expand on this
research with larger sample sizes; however, it
does appear that the magnitude of meaningful
dierences is limited. Transgender subidentities
demonstrated more similarities than dierences
across variables related to climate perceptions
and engagement, suggesting the appropriateness
of examining the population as a whole in these
domains. Caution is encouraged, however,
as gender-based norms may impact students’
experiences, as was evident on the faculty
mentoring and leadership-related variables.
Researchers should also consider disaggregating
subidentities in post hoc analyses whenever
survey designs and sample sizes make this
analytically feasible. Conversely, collapsing
transgender students with their nontransgender
LGB peer seems ill-advised when examining
issues of campus climate and educational
outcomes. In both cases, transgender students
reported significant differences with their
nontransgender LGB and heterosexual peers.
Collapsing populations may be more appro-
priate in the exploration of collegiate experi-
734 Journal of College Student Development
Dugan, Kusel, & Simounet
ences, which did not demonstrate signicant
dierences between groups.
Finally, additional exploration of trans-
gender college students is necessary to deepen
our understanding of their needs and unique
experiences. First and foremost, researchers
must expand beyond simplistic binaries and
include transgender as a response option
in survey research. Its absence not only
further marginalizes transgender students,
but contributes to the desensitization of
nontransgender students regarding its validity
as an identity. Building the quantitative sample
sizes necessary to address complex questions
using sophisticated statistical analyses requires
us to ask the question in the first place.
Researchers should also consider how they
can minimize the constraints of the inherently
reductionistic nature of quantitative research.
In studies that directly address transgender
students, open-ended responses may be a more
appropriate way to capture the multiple ways in
which transgender students identify; however,
in studies exploring broader subject matters
this is not always possible. Nevertheless, if
national and multi-institutional studies could
simply identify transgender students as a broad
identity, conditional analyses across a wide array
of educational outcomes could be conducted
along with causal analyses examining the extent
to which dierences with nontransgender peers
persist in complex models.
Results from this research also suggest it
may be interesting to dierentiate between
categorical acknowledgment of a transgender
identity and the relative salience of that
identity to someone’s self-concept. e static
nature of quantitative research designs makes
it dicult to capture identity in a dynamic
way. Qualitative techniques may be better
suited for unpacking how the relative salience
of a transgender identity shapes collegiate
perceptions, engagement, and educational
outcomes. Finally, results point to the potent
inuences associated with masculine hegemony
in shaping transgender students’ experiences.
Researchers should examine this phenomenon
in greater depth with specic attention paid to
how it can be disrupted.
CONCLUSION
e transgender college student population
is often a marginalized or outright neglected
voice in the broader higher education and
student aairs literature. Findings from this
research oer greater breadth of knowledge
regarding how transgender students perceive,
engage with, and learn in the college context.
Our results identified differences between
transgender subidentications as well as between
transgender students and their nontransgender
LGB and heterosexual peers across a number
of dimensions of the collegiate experience.
ese results provide a critical foundation from
which to engage in more purposeful educational
practice, advocate for transgender students’
needs, and build future research.
Correspondence concerning this article should be
addressed to John P. Dugan, Assistant Professor, Higher
Education, Loyola University Chicago, 820 N. Michigan
Avenue, Suite 1100, Chicago, IL 60611; Jdugan1@
luc.edu
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Transgender College Students
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... We would like to acknowledge and thank the high school students and teachers who collaboratively volunteered their time in order to participate in our research study. Discrimination and inequality on the basis of gender and sexual diversity remain prevalent in today's society (Beck et al., 2010;Dispenza et al., 2012;Dugan et al., 2012;Barrientos and Cárdenas, 2013). These situations of exclusion and rejection show the need to train individuals and organizations in the prevention of violence, harassment and inequality (Kattari et al., 2018). ...
... Although many rights have been won in recent decades, they are still insufficient to address the needs of these people in a comprehensive manner (Platero, 2009). Discrimination and inequality on the grounds of sexual and gender diversity continue to be a reality in today's society, as denounced by the study, and subsequent report, conducted by the Organización de las Naciones Unidas (2011) and other recent work on trans, gay, lesbian or bisexual (Beck et al., 2010;Dispenza et al., 2012;Dugan et al., 2012;Barrientos and Cárdenas, 2013;Kattari et al., 2018). The school context is one of the areas where lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, transsexuals, intersexes, queer and other sexual and gender minority people (LGBTIQ+) suffer most from exclusion and violence (Dugan et al., 2012;Martxueta and Etxeberria, 2014). ...
... Discrimination and inequality on the grounds of sexual and gender diversity continue to be a reality in today's society, as denounced by the study, and subsequent report, conducted by the Organización de las Naciones Unidas (2011) and other recent work on trans, gay, lesbian or bisexual (Beck et al., 2010;Dispenza et al., 2012;Dugan et al., 2012;Barrientos and Cárdenas, 2013;Kattari et al., 2018). The school context is one of the areas where lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, transsexuals, intersexes, queer and other sexual and gender minority people (LGBTIQ+) suffer most from exclusion and violence (Dugan et al., 2012;Martxueta and Etxeberria, 2014). In this sense, Sánchez Sibony et al. (2018), after a systematic review of studies on harassment and stigmatization in schools for reasons of sexual and gender diversity, determine the existence of a specific form of homophobic bullying. ...
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Full Topic Research. Published in: Frontiers in Education, Frontiers in Sociology and Frontiers in Psychology / Ortega-Sánchez, D., Sanz De La Cal, E., Ibáñez Quintana, J., Borghi, B., eds. (2022). Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Education. Lausanne: Frontiers Media SA. doi: 10.3389/978-2-88974-506-7
... The heterosexist and gender-normative biases in STEM fields have the potential to create unsupportive environments for queer-spectrum individuals (i.e. not cisgender and/or not heterosexual) [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]. Specifically, queer-spectrum STEM professionals and students experience exclusion from networking and resources, harassment, devaluating of their contributions, a more negative work environment, decreased professional success, and a chilly climate towards any discussion of their identity, as queer identities are often seen as irrelevant and not to be discussed [1][2][3][8][9][10][11][12][13]. ...
... not cisgender and/or not heterosexual) [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]. Specifically, queer-spectrum STEM professionals and students experience exclusion from networking and resources, harassment, devaluating of their contributions, a more negative work environment, decreased professional success, and a chilly climate towards any discussion of their identity, as queer identities are often seen as irrelevant and not to be discussed [1][2][3][8][9][10][11][12][13]. The consequences of this chilly climate include queer-spectrum students' under-representation and lower persistence than their cisgender and heterosexual peers, and the higher likelihood of queer-spectrum STEM professionals to consider and create plans to leave not only their profession, but STEM completely [1,7,[14][15][16]. ...
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Queer identities are often ignored in diversity initiatives, yet there is a growing body of research that describes notable heterosexist and gender-normative expectations in STEM that lead to unsupportive and discriminatory environments and to the lower persistence of queer individuals. Research on the experiences of queer-spectrum individuals is limited by current demographic practices. In surveys that are queer-inclusive there is no consensus on best practices, and individuals with queer genders and queer sexual, romantic, and related orientations are often lumped together in a general category (e.g. LGBTQ+). We developed two queer-inclusive demographics questions and administered them as part of a larger study in undergraduate engineering and computer science classes (n = 3698), to determine which of three survey types for gender (conventional, queered, open-ended) provided the most robust data and compared responses to national data to determine if students with queer genders and/or queer sexual, romantic, and related orientations were underrepresented in engineering and computer science programs. The gender survey with queer-identity options provided the most robust data, as measured by higher response rates and relatively high rates of disclosing queer identities. The conventional survey (male, female, other) had significantly fewer students disclose queer identities, and the open-ended survey had a significantly higher non-response rate. Allowing for multiple responses on the survey was important: 78% of those with queer gender identities and 9% of those with queer sexual, romantic and related orientations selected multiple identities within the same survey question. Queer students in our study were underrepresented relative to national data. Students who disclosed queer gender identities were 7/100ths of the expected number, and those with queer orientations were under-represented by one-quarter. Further work developing a research-based queered demographics instrument is needed for larger-scale changes in demographics practices, which will help others identify and address barriers that queer-spectrum individuals face in STEM.
... In addition, a study of more 3000 Canadian teachers found they were more likely to challenge homophobia in their classes than transphobia (Taylor et al., 2016). In college, the few studies conducted specifically on students with queer genders found they experienced worse academic climate, greater exposure to discrimination, and lower sense of belonging compared with cisgender students (Dugan et al., 2012;Rankin and Beemyn, 2012;Garvey and Rankin, 2015;Day et al., 2018). Two studies that focused exclusively on students with queer genders in higher education found that lack of belonging and worse academic climate predicted experiences of stress (Garvey and Rankin, 2015;Budge and Goldberg, 2020). ...
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Biology is the study of the diversity of life, which includes diversity in sex, gender, and sexual, romantic, and related orientations. However, a small body of literature suggests that undergraduate biology courses focus on only a narrow representation of this diversity (binary sexes, heterosexual orientations, etc.). In this study, we interviewed students with queer genders to understand the messages about sex, gender, and orientation they encountered in biology and the impact of these messages on them. We found five over-arching themes in these interviews. Students described two narratives about sex, gender, and orientation in their biology classes that made biology implicitly exclusionary. These narratives harmed students by impacting their sense of belonging, career preparation, and interest in biology content. However, students employed a range of resilience strategies to resist these harms. Finally, students described the currently unrealized potential for biology and biology courses to validate queer identities by representing the diversity in sex and orientation in biology. We provide teaching suggestions derived from student interviews for making biology more queer-inclusive. INTRODUCTION The number of individuals who openly identify with a gender that does not match the sex they were assigned at birth is growing each generation (GLAAD and Harris Poll, 2017; Jones, 2021). However, educational research on how to support this growing segment of the population is lagging behind that of other historically marginalized groups, especially at the college level (Dickey et al., 2016; Coleman et al., 2020). This produces a noticeable gap in understanding the factors that contribute to the success of these students in academic settings (Freeman, 2018). In this study, we explored how messages about sex, gender, and orientation in biology courses influenced the experiences and persistence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields of students whose gender does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.
... International students may experience discrimination in higher education if their peers are more conservative or reported support for President Trump (Quinton, 2019). Transgender students report high incidents of discrimination and harassment in college settings, paired with a decreased sense of belongingness on campus (Dugan et al., 2012). Regardless of the disadvantaged group to which one belongs, higher education institutions seem to mimic society, and thus, life is easier for those who do not fall into any minority categories. ...
... Discriminatory campus climate was measured using an instrument by Dugan et al. (2012). ...
... Because they are perceived as traditional outsiders, SGM individuals, especially if they are "out", might have less access to benefits from network-based social capital [29,58,59], which could contribute to poorer feelings of fit. In particular, not all transgender students receive the same level or quality of faculty mentoring as that received by their cisgender peers [60]. SGM students sometimes find it difficult to connect with faculty mentors who also can be role models [61,62]. ...
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Undergraduates with sexual and/or gender minority (SGM) identities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, pansexual, intersexual, asexual, or additional positionalities, often face an unwelcoming STEM microclimate. The STEM microclimate includes the places students experience, such as classrooms or labs, and the people, such as peers or professors, with whom they discuss their STEM program. While previous work offers a framework of microaggressions faced by SGM people, and the behavioral, cognitive, and emotional strategies they use to react to them, little is known about the strategies SGM students use to persist in the STEM microclimate. We analyze interviews with 29 SGM STEM undergraduates to uncover how they fit in STEM, their experiences that affect fit, how social capital in the form of influential others affects fit, and the strategies used to deal with microaggressions and cultivate a supportive network. Using thematic analysis, we find that students vary in their feelings of fit, with students with gender minority identities experiencing more frequent and more severe microaggressions than students with sexual minority identities (which are often less visible). We likewise find that students with racial minority identities report compounding issues related to identity. SGM students with social capital, or a network of people to whom they can turn in order to access advice and resources, believe they fit in better than those without such capital. To support their feelings of fit, students use defenses against discrimination, including micro-defenses, wherein they change how they present their self to avoid microaggressions and/or surround themselves with accepting people. This research highlights the role of microaggressions and social capital in affecting fit as well as the micro-defenses students use to defend against discrimination. Our introduction of the concept of micro-defenses provides a way to theorize about micro-interactional dynamics and the site at which students defend against microaggressions so they feel more welcome in STEM. Implications provide insight into how SGM students can be supported in STEM as well as the institutional changes STEM departments and campuses can make in order to better support and include SGM students.
... TGNC students are also hypothesized to be more likely to switch from STEM to non-STEM majors. Perhaps we might frame this hypothesis as an unfair advantage enjoyed by cisgender students in STEM: Cisgender students are not experiencing the current political salience of TGNC identities, for example, which is also likely shaping the climate in higher education TGNC Retention (Dugan et al., 2012;Garvey and Rankin, 2015;Garvey et al., 2019;Rankin et al., 2010). This problem appears to be even more acutely felt in STEM majors (Atherton et al., 2016). ...
Article
Despite calls for improved data-collection efforts tracking transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, there have been no reports of TGNC continuation in STEM majors at the university level. Using national, longitudinal data from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, we analyzed the experiences of 20,910 students who indicated an initial intent to major in a STEM field and found that TGNC students (n = 117) continue in STEM majors at a rate ∼10% lower than their cisgender peers. This gap persists despite TGNC students' high levels of academic ability and academic self-confidence. Through multilevel regression modeling, we found this difference is not explained by experiences that have predicted the likelihood of cisgender students leaving STEM. The only significant predictor of STEM attrition for TGNC students in our model was whether they sought personal counseling; TGNC students who more frequently sought personal counseling were 21% less likely to remain in STEM majors. Overall, TGNC students leave STEM at rates similar to or higher than other minoritized groups, building the case for a multifaced, intersectional approach to addressing diversity and equity in the preparation of the future STEM workforce.
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Departing from extant deficit models, the present study qualitatively explored 50 LGBTQ+ college students' development within Greek Life from a Transformative Intersectional Psychology (TIP) approach. Amidst the heteronormative and gendernormative challenges of Greek Life, participants actively pursued an authentic self, friendship, leadership and transformative social change. Sixty-six percent of participants characterized their Greek Life experiences as positive, with 88% of participants reporting that their overall Greek Life engagement positively contributed to their college experience. Moreover, 74% of participants served in Greek Life leadership roles. Of the participants in leadership roles, 46% reported that their Greek Life experiences positively connected to their LGBTQ+ identity. Participants' dynamic Greek Life engagement required no external research prompt, illustrating LGBTQ+ emerging adults' agentive efforts to actively, collaboratively and transformatively direct their own development and create institutional change. Research, counseling and administrative recommendations on how to foster LGBTQ+ campus leadership and Greek Life inclusion are discussed.
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This study examined college students’ capacities for socially responsible leadership using theoretical measures grounded in the social change model of leadership development (HERI, 1996). Findings represent responses from 50,378 participants enrolled at 52 colleges and universities across the United States. Students scored highest on the leadership construct of commitment and lowest on the construct of change. Specific attention was paid to the unique influences of race, gender, and sexual orientation. Women college students scored significantly higher than men on seven out of eight leadership measures. Complex findings associated with race reflect highest scores among African American and Black college students and lowest scores among Asian Pacific American college students. No significant differences emerged related to students’ reported sexual orientations. Results are interpreted in the context of higher education and student affairs practice along with suggestions for future research.
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Web surveys appear to be attaining lower response rates than equivalent mail surveys. One reason may be that there is currently little information on effective strategies for increasing response to Internet-based surveys. Web users are becoming more impatient with high-burden Web interactions. The authors examined the decision to respond to a Web survey by embedding a series of experiments in a survey of students at the University of Michigan. A sample of over 4,500 students was sent an e-mail invitation to participate in a Web survey on affirmative action policies. Methodological experiments included using a progress indicator, automating password entry, varying the timing of reminder notices to nonrespondents, and using a prenotification report of the anticipated survey length. Each of these experiments was designed to vary the burden (perceived or real) of the survey request. Results of these experiments are presented.
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CHOICE MAGAZINE Outstanding Academic Title for 2007 The field of "transgender" and "transpositionality" has been carved out as a new field of inquiry in the past decade, showing the fragmentation and diversification of masculinities and feminities - along with the error of any sharp polarisation. Dave King and Richard Ekins are the leading world sociologists in this field and have mined it richly since the 1970's. The book brings together a brilliant synthesis of history, case studies, ideas and positions as they have emerged over the past thirty years, and brings together a rich but always grounded account of this field, providing a state of the art of critical concepts and ideas to take this field further during the twenty first century. This is a must read for all interested in this new area of inquiry ' - Ken Plummer, Professor of Sociology, University of Essex. Editor of Sexualities. Author of Intimate Citizenship An outstanding survey of the evolution of trans phenomena, splendidly written, highly informative, scholarly at its best, yet easy to read even for those neither trans nor sociologist. Drs Ekins and King, experts in the field, unroll the panoramas of sex, gender, and transgendering that have evloved during the last decades. For everyone wanting to understand the interaction of women and men and of those who cannot or will not identify with either of these two cataegories, reading this book is a must, and a real pleasure' - Professor Friedmann Pfaefflin, University of ULM In a work destined to be a classic, Ekins and King offer a comprehensive overview of the diversity of contemporary transgender expression, along with an impressive conceptual framework for making sense of that diversity. The abundant case vignettes bring the authors' concepts to life and make the book a pleasure to read' - Dr Anne Lawrence, Clinical Sexologist in Private Practice, Seattle An outstanding survey of the evolution of trans phenomena, splendidly written, highly informative, scholarly at its best, yet easy to read even for those neither trans nor sociologist. Drs Ekins and King, experts in the field, unroll the panoramas of sex, gender, and transgendering that have evloved during the last decades. For everyone wanting to understand the interaction of women and men and of those who cannot or will not identify with either of these two cataegories, reading this book is a must, and a real pleasure' - This groundbreaking study sets out a framework for exploring transgender diversity for the new millennium. It sets forth an original and comprehensive research and provides a wealth of vivid illustrative material.Based on two decades of fieldwork, life history work, qualitative analysis, archival work and contact with several thousand cross-dressers and sex-changers around the world, the authors distinguish a number of contemporary transgendering stories' to illustrate:" the binary male/female divide;" the interrelations betwen sex, sexuality and gender;" the interrelations between the main sub-processes of transgendering. Wonderfully insightful, The Transgender Phenomenon develops an original and innovative conceptual framkework for understanding the full range of the transgender experience.
Article
The inclusion of Gender Identity Disorder and Transvestic Fetishism in a psychiatric diagnostic nosology is a complex topic that is best understood within the larger context of the history and politics of diagnostic classification systems. The diagnostic labeling of gender-variant individuals with a mental illness is a topic of growing controversy within the medical and psychotherapeutic professions and among many civil rights advocates. An overview of both sides of this controversy is outlined, highlighting questions about the potential damage caused by using psychiatric diagnoses to label sexual behaviors and gender expressions that differ from the norm, and the ethical dilemmas of needing a psychiatric diagnosis to provide legitimacy for transsexuals' right to attain necessary medical treatments. The author reviews the use of diagnostic systems as a tool of social control; the conflation of complex issues of gender identity, emotional distress, sexual desire, and social nonconformity; the reification of sexist ideologies in the DSM; the clinical and treatment implications of diagnosing gender for “gatekeepers”; and some recommendations for GID reform.