This article examines 90 transgender-identified youth’s retrospective accounts about their parent-child relationships to uncover trans* youth’s experiences with family boundary ambiguity. Researchers recruited participants from community centers in ten regions, across three countries. Analyses were conducted qualitatively using ethnographic content analysis. Participants shared a number of stories about parent-child interactions surrounding gender nonconformity. Findings revealed participants’ perceptions of various forms of ambiguity were inherent in youth’s attempts to reconcile a drive for autonomy in developing an authentic trans* identity, and a drive for connectedness with their family of origin. Findings suggest the importance of generating scholarship that addresses the range of experiences trans* youth must navigate in the context of family, instead of dichotomizing experiences into a single experience of acceptance or rejection. Ambiguous loss theory, as a framework, captured complexity which helped to illuminate the reality of trans* youth’s lives-- the wins, losses, and ambivalence found therein.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis.May 2016. Major: Family Social Science. Advisors: Jenifer McGuire, Sharon Danes. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 185 pages.
Family Transitions: Ambiguous Loss And Self-Determination Among Transgender Youth.
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