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Publication Date


Document Type


Study Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School for Social Work


Transgender, Immigration, Latinas, Qualitative, Mental health


Immigration in the last 10 years has increased the presence of transgender Latina immigrants (TLI) in the U.S., or those immigrants who identify with a gender different than the one assigned at birth. This qualitative study examined TLI’s reasons for coming to the U.S. and their pre, during, and post migration experiences. Twenty TLI from México, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador participated in semi-structured individual interviews in an integrated care clinic between June 2017 and August 2017. This study found that TLI continue to leave their countries in search of protection and gender affirming experiences. Using grounded theory, the following six themes emerged: relationships, society, gender norms, identity, supports and survival. Storylines that emerged included lack of support and rejection, suffering, and feeling fearful about returning to their countries. Ecological systems theory and intersectionality theory were used as theoretical frameworks, and implications for social work, research and policy were addressed.


©2018 Olivie Mora-Lett. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




195 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 149-170)