Alternative Title

Transgender adults' experiences of community support and resilience

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Transgender people-Social networks, Transgender people-Psychology, Transgenderism-Online chat groups, Peer counseling, Resilience (Personality trait), Transgender, Trans, FTM, MTF, Gender nonconforming, Genderqueer, Non-binary, LGBT, Community support, Peer support, Community formation, Mutuality, Resilience, Social capital, Connectedness, Online support, Trans enough, Local knowledge, Minority stress theory, Relational cultural theory


This qualitative study collected narrative data from transgender adults about their experiences of community support from other transgender individuals and about their experience of their own resilience. Due to previous research findings about the marginalization of transgender populations, particular attention was paid to narrative data that explicitly suggest structural oppression. Narrative data were collected from two samples drawn from adult transgender populations. One sample (N=12) participated in hour-long semi-structured individual interviews (Interview Sample [IS]). Another sample (N=4) participated in a Focus Group [FGS]) conducted at a transgender conference in the northeast.

The major findings that emerged from participants’ reports of their experiences of community support from other transgender individuals included: connecting online and investing in community knowledge & alternative economies. The experience of reciprocity or mutuality emerged as a key finding from the IS participants’ reports of their own resilience. An important theme that emerged from the FGS was the importance of everyday transgender role models. Overall, this research suggests transgender individuals experience an association between their own resilience and the support of other members of the trans community. One divergent—though salient—theme from the data is that the transgender community may perpetuate the “trans enough” narrative.




iv, 97 pages : color illustration. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 77-83)

Included in

Social Work Commons