Growing up Trans: Exploring the Positive School Experiences of Transgender Children and Young People

Prof Doc Thesis

Leonard, M. 2019. Growing up Trans: Exploring the Positive School Experiences of Transgender Children and Young People. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsLeonard, M.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

While the exploration into transgender students’ experiences is a growing field within psychological and educational research, much of this to date has explored the negative experiences faced by transgender children and young people, and the outcomes these have had on their physical, social and emotional well-being. The purpose of the research was to add to this field by highlighting the positive school experiences of transgender children and young people in order to promote and advocate for these for others.
An initial focus group was held to explore language around the transgender community and design questions for semi-structured interviews. Interviews were then conducted with three transgender young people. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach was adopted.
Five superordinate themes emerged from the participants’ narratives. Participants raised The Importance of Language as a means of asserting their own identities and for others to demonstrate their respect and acceptance of this. Participants also raised the importance of Individual Teacher Support, Whole-School Approaches and The Importance of Community, highlighting ways others have shown support and advocated for their rights with others. A final theme reflected My Own Best Friend, which demonstrated the skills and resilience transgender children and young people bring themselves.
The research findings highlight that transgender children and young people are both able and willing to share their experiences with others to highlight positive practice and promote inclusive and supportive behaviours in schools. Findings are discussed in relation to previous literature and psychological theory, and limitations and suggestions for schools and authorities, as well as for educational psychologists, are highlighted. As a profession, educational psychologists are uniquely positioned to support children and young people at an individual, family and systemic level. It is important that educational psychologists continue to support transgender children and young people, and highlight
their voices during the transition process, as well as continue to help schools and local authorities develop their guidelines for supporting transgender students in schools.

PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.15123/uel.883vz
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Publication dates
PrintApr 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Jul 2020
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