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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Unpacking the T: Understanding the Diverse Experiences Trans Students Navigating Schools


In this mixed methods study, we use quantitative and narrative survey data from 47 parents/guardians of trans youth to understand their experiences navigating schools. In our analytic process, we recognized that how students identified mattered to parents/guardians’ stories. We use trans theories and concepts of materiality, embodiment, and subjection to understand our initial thematic analysis. Our findings indicate the need to attend to students’ material bodies, how their embodied experiences differ based on how they are read and which “rules” they “break,” and how masculinity and femininity might be regulated differently. We aim to contribute to the growing literature in PK-12 education that calls for research to differentiate the experiences of trans students by unpacking the T.

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