Date of Award

May 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Shannon Chavez-Korell

Committee Members

Markeda Newell, Marty Sapp, Sarah Morgan, Raymond Fleming


Minority, Resiliency, Transgender


Much of the research on transgender individuals has been geared towards identifying risk factors including suicide, HIV, and poverty. Little to no research has been conducted on resiliency factors within the transgender community. The few research studies that have focused on transgender individuals have made little or no reference to transgender people of color. This study utilized the Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) approach to examine resiliency factors among eleven transgender people of color. The data analysis process yielded a total of eleven domains including: (1) Adverse Conditions, (2) Coping Mechanisms, (3) Support, (4) Community Resources, (5) Perceptions of the LGBT Community, (6) Intimate Relationships, (7) Mental Health Counseling, (8) Transitioning Processes, (9) Family Reactions to Gender Identity, (10) Family Systems/Beliefs, and (11) Personal Beliefs.

All participants showed resiliency by overcoming one of more of the following adverse conditions: death of a loved one, unemployment, lack of health insurance, experiences of racism, experiences of transphobia, violence/bullying, employment discrimination, negative public responses, negative interpersonal responses, and within group discrimination. All participants reported using one or more of the following coping mechanisms: assertive/communication/self-advocacy, spiritual coping, honesty/integrity, avoidance, verbal/physical aggression, and help-seeking. Areas of support for participants came from the following sources: friends, peers, significant others, and LGBT community programs. One major area of support for participants came from family members who accepted their transgender identity. The majority of individuals reported being future oriented with personal goals. Other findings include participants sharing the following personality characteristics: outspoken/strong, independent, friendly/outgoing, private, leader/role model, and determination. Participants also challenged beliefs about the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity often using labels for both interchangeably. This study showed evidence for the complexity within the transgender community. The results in this study argue that the transgender community is more than a group of people who face hardships, but rather they are a community who show tremendous strength and resiliency in living their day to day lives.