A Qualitative Exploration of Gender Identity in Young People who identify as Neither Male nor Female

Prof Doc Thesis

Boddington, Ellen 2016. A Qualitative Exploration of Gender Identity in Young People who identify as Neither Male nor Female. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.5383
AuthorsBoddington, Ellen
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The dominant approach to categorising gender in western cultures, follows a binary
system, where the gender of an individual must be either male or female. However,
some individuals feel that their gender identity is neither male nor female, and may
define themselves as non-binary. Non-binary gender has predominantly been
encompassed within wider transgender research and, therefore, little is known about
how young people who identify as non-binary describe their gender identity.
This research study explored how young people with non-binary gender identities
describe and understand their gender identity. The influence of relationships with
others upon gender identity was explored, along with what these young people would
like from services.
Six young people aged between 15 and 18 with non-binary gender identities were
recruited from a NHS gender identity development service and a third sector
organisation supporting young people with gender development. Semi-structured
interviews were carried out and analysed using thematic analysis.
The research indicated that the participants utilised the internet as a source of
information during the process of gender exploration and discovery. Talking to others
both within and outside of the transgender community provided them with the space
to explore, discover and find validation and acceptance of their non-binary genders.
This study also suggests that the impact of gender uncertainty and body distress on
their emotional wellbeing could be exacerbated or mitigated according to the
response and support received from others. Furthermore, the young people that took
part in this research were very aware of negative judgements of those in their
community and also within wider society. The stigma and discrimination was thought
by the participants to be fuelled by the lack of awareness and education of non-binary
genders. Consequently, there was a desire for activism and social action to reduce
stigma and to improve the everyday lives of those with non-binary genders.
A critical review of the study is provided and theoretical and clinical implications are

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.5383
Publication dates
PrintMay 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Nov 2016
Publisher's version
Permalink -


Download files

  • 377
    total views
  • 3894
    total downloads
  • 6
    views this month
  • 63
    downloads this month

Export as