Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Transgender people-Employment, Discrimination in employment, Transphobia, Self-efficacy, Empathy, Qualitative research, Transgender, Trans*, Blatant, Covert, Discrimination, Employment


Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are often the subject of blatant and covert discrimination when seeking employment and studies demonstrate the negative effects on mental health. The research question for this study was: How can social workers best support trans* clients who are in the process of searching for employment, build self-efficacy and overcome psychological barriers that have developed as a result of oppression and discrimination? This qualitative study of seven trans* individuals provides examples of discrimination as experienced by the participants, examines the effects discrimination has on mental health and self-efficacy, and provides social workers with recommendations for supporting trans* clients. The study revealed that experiences of discrimination lead to feelings of anger, frustration, and hopelessness and often transform into depression, anxiety and suicidality. Recommendations for social workers included learning about trans*-related issues, providing clients with practical resources and adopting a client-centered approach that offers empathy, encouragement and positive reinforcement. Emotional responses to discrimination and problems that arise in the process of looking for work are also discussed.




iii, 87 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 73-78)