A case study of a 22 year old female-to-male transgender individual was conducted for the purpose of gaining an in-depth understanding of experiences of formal and informal support in relationship to gender identity. The study included background information, three individual interviews, and content of a blog written by the participant. The interviews explored the topics of gender identity, interpersonal/personal conflicts and resolutions, formal and informal support, community, psychological and medical treatment, therapeutic relationships, significant familial and social relationships, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. Data analysis indicated four prominent themes of the participant's experience of formal and informal support. These included: (a) invisibility shown through avoidance and invalidation experienced with both informal and formal support, (b) rigid boundaries regarding acceptable gender identity expression, (c) using silence and compromise in reaction to unhelpful experiences of formal and informal support, and (d) intragroup dynamics of exclusion. The themes are discussed in relationship to current research, emerging hypotheses, and implications for future research.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Transsexualism -- Psychological aspects; Female-to-male transsexuals -- Psychology; Transgender people -- Social networks

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Harrell, Shelly;