Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

David Pantalone

Second Advisor

Karen Suyemoto

Third Advisor

Jae Puckett


Misgendering is a common and distressing experience for many trans and gender diverse people. Existing research (e.g., McLemore, 2015; 2018) suggests that being misgendered is associated with negative mental health factors, including increased depression and anxiety and decreased self-esteem. However, the empirical literature on misgendering is currently in its infancy and does not provide a complex or nuanced understanding of the phenomenon. The present study aimed to address this gap by examining how trans and gender diverse people experience and negotiate the experience of being misgendered.

This qualitative study was guided by a constructivist grounded theory framework with a critical-ideological lens (Cresswell, 2007; Ponterotto, 2005). I conducted and analyzed fourteen semi-structured interviews using a constant comparative approach, including internal and external auditing and member check interviews. Participants described that their unique context, as well as their reaction, response, and the consequences of their response to being misgendered were interrelated. These results informed the construction of a model of the experience of being misgendered. These findings suggest that misgendering is a significant minority stressor, and that there are ways in which others can support trans and gender diverse individuals in navigating this experience.


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