Date Created



This research is a mixed-methods analysis of the relationship between campus climate and gender identity for transgender and nonbinary college students. Snowball and convenience sampling were used to obtain a sample of trans and nonbinary college students. Thirty surveys and six interviews were completed. I applied Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory and Risman’s gender structure theory to analyze how macrosystems, microsystems, and the chronosystem (time) affected trans students’ gender identity, whether positively or negatively. Participants were ambivalent about the effects of college on their gender identity; on one hand, college gives trans students freedom from their previous environments. However, participants described a lack of structural supports and chilly microsystems, resulting in their feelings of alienation from their institutions. The chronosystem greatly impacted students’ responses as interviews were collected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants’ recommendations for college administrators are discussed, including being able to change one’s name in colleges systems and the need for greater trans representation.


Campus Climate; Sense of Belonging; Transgender; Nonbinary; College Students; Gender Identity

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.