If I can be myself, I can do anything: A photovoice exploration of the experiences of transgender college students



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The field of student affairs strives to support the growth and development of college students, and a comprehensive understanding of their needs and experiences is pivotal for its success in this endeavor. There is a limited amount of literature on the experiences of transgender collegians, a student population that is becoming more visible on today’s college campuses. Many of the scholarly works on trans issues in higher education have positioned transgender students within the larger grouping of LGBT individuals. This grouping is problematic, as it does not distinguish between gender identity and sexual orientation identity, two separate and distinct constructs. This study seeks to contribute to the small body of literature dedicated to the unique experiences and identity development processes of transgender college students. I utilize the qualitative research methodology of Photovoice in this study, which allows participants to tell their story through photography and personal narratives. The findings drawn from participant interviews and photographs are encompassed in the following six themes: (1) Isolation and Emotional Turmoil, (2) Defining a Transgender Identity, (3) Creating a Cohesive Sense of Self, (4) Transitioning, (5) The Importance of Support, and (6) Lack of Awareness.



Transgender college students, Identity development