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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Psychology


How would you react on a first date if the person disclosed they used to be the other gender? Or if your partner/spouse decided to switch genders? This research examines the psychological and social challenges transgender individuals often face when seeking and maintaining romantic partner relationships. The experiences of the transgender community are beginning to receive more attention in both psychological research and mainstream culture. One area conspicuously absent is comprehensive research regarding the nature and challenges of transgender individuals' partner relationships. This study was a qualitative exploration of the transgender partner experience. Participants were recruited nationwide through convenience sampling. Participants completed a one-hour, semi structured interview. The phenomenological analysis found several themes in the data including: (a) Disclosure to Current or Future Partners, (b) Sexual Orientation labeling, and (c) Constructing Gender Identity. Participants also reported on the importance of partner, family, and societal support to help maintain healthy romantic relationships. This work has implications for applied counseling settings and for the transgender community as a whole.


The attached poster was originally presented at the National Multicultural Conference at Summit in January 2015.