A CHOICE NO CHOICE; The lived experience of people who identify as transgender (non-binary and/or gender diverse) in Australia

Anne Reid Munro, Wendy Bowles, Cate Thomas

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This study originated from my interest in contributing to the limited research with people who identify as transgender, non-binary and gender diverse with the aim of showcasing their capacity, strength, resilience, gender conviction and affirmation to the broader community. This study aimed to further understanding and development of positive engagement and support strategies for professionals working with and for people who identify as transgender, their families, partners and friends.
As the review of the literature shows, narratives by people who identify as transgender especially their positive experiences, are underrepresented in research across the world and Australia. The intention of this study was to provide a platform for Australian people identifying as transgender, non-binary and gender diverse to share their individual narratives and to seek insights into their lived experiences. Three research questions guided the research: How do people who identify as transgender (non-binary and/or gender diverse) and /or transitioning make sense of identifying as transgender (non-binary and/or gender diverse), how do people who identify as transgender (non-binary and/or gender diverse) continue in the face of discrimination, oppression, abuse and generalised hostility? and how do people who identify as transgender (non-binary and/or gender diverse) experience health and welfare service provision in Australia?
This qualitative study uses an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and a strengths perspective frame to explore the lived experiences of Australians who identify as transgender (non-binary and gender diverse). An initial survey was followed by semi-structured interviews which followed the principles of IPA from a foundation of a strengths-based approach. Forty-eight participants took part in the survey component of this research and nine of these also participated in a semi structured interview sharing their lived experiences in Australia and what that means for them. An in-depth analysis of the data utilising IPA revealed common experiences of strength, commitment in the face of adversity and desire to live an authentic life. Across all the interviews, accounts of resilience in response to different levels of discrimination from individuals to systems, consistently demonstrate how people continue in their journey. The results of this study suggest that increased education, training and understanding is required in all spheres of service provision but predominately the health services. Recommendations for changes to curricula for disciplines such as social work, as well as further research, conclude the study. This research offers a unique insight into the lived perspective of what it means to be a person who identifies as transgender, non-binary and gender diverse in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Social Work
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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