Title page for ETD etd-04292009-175345

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Benson, Kristen Edith
URN etd-04292009-175345
Title Gender Identity and the Family Story: A Critical Analysis
Degree PhD
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Piercy, Fred P. Committee Chair
Bava, Saliha Committee Member
Fowler, Shelli B. Committee Member
Hausman, Bernice L. Committee Member
Johnson, Scott W. Committee Member
  • Transgender
  • gender identity
  • feminist
  • couple therapy
  • family therapy
Date of Defense 2008-12-11
Availability unrestricted
This research explored how transgender people and their partners experience the process of disclosing their gender identity, experiences of mental health, and how couple and family therapists can be helpful to relationships involving transgender people. The purpose of this study was to better understand transgender relationships to prepare couple and family therapists to work with this population. Participants were seven self-identified transgender people and three of their partners. In-depth interviews were used to explore experiences of transgender people’s relationships. Nine themes were identified: decision to disclose, the road to acceptance, perceptions of sexual orientation, change, delineating between purposes for seeking mental health services, belief that therapists are not well-informed about transgender issues, value of well-informed therapists, couple and family therapists should be well-informed, and loved ones understanding of gender identity. This study provides insight into transgender people’s relational issues relevant to couple and family therapy. Phenomenological, narrative and feminist lenses provide frameworks to view these findings. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.
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