Advisor

Softas-Nall, Basilia

Committee Member

Rings, Jeffrey

Committee Member

Cardona, Vilma

Department

Applied Psychology and Counselor Education

Institution

University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources

Text

Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)

Publisher

University of Northern Colorado

Date Created

8-2017

Genre

Thesis

Extent

427 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital

Abstract

This study investigated the experiences of romantic couples who maintained their relationship when one partner transitioned gender. For this phenomenology, 13 couples were interviewed as a dyad and individually from within systemic, feminist, and queer research theories. Couples were interviewed together to best encapsulate their couple narrative and honor their experiences. Themes that emerged from the interviews appeared overall consistent with research regarding transgender couple experiences. Couples discussed how much they loved each other and cared about their relationship above and beyond a partner’s gender identity, sharing they felt committed to their partners as people. Several common relationship changes were associated with gender transition including improved communication skills and language changes, affirming sexual relationships, and redistribution of power within the couple dyad. Benefits of the gender transition included improved relationships overall, emergence of support from communities and loved ones, passing privilege, and improved awareness to social issues. Couples also described challenges to navigating a gender transition within a relationship including losing close relationships, difficulty with remaining patient in transition, and adjusting to new identities such as feeling queer invisibility or a loss of heterosexual privilege. Many common relationship strengths and positive qualities were found in common across couples: love, acceptance, advocacy, commitment, respect, perseverance, friendship, flexibility, listening, humor, and sexual fluidity. Finally, couples shared that political issues in the current sociopolitical climate had a personal impact on their felt safety and daily lives. Suggestions were made for counseling psychologists to use in their work such as remaining unconditionally trans positive in work with transitioning couples and becoming competent in trans issues before taking on transgender couples. Future research could also be drawn from this work to continue celebrating the complexity of gender diversity and sharing positive, successful narratives of this often ignored population of families.

Degree type

PhD

Degree Name

Doctoral

Language

English

Local Identifiers

Motter_unco_1061D_10584

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.

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