ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Maria Scannapieco


Non-binary and gender expansive (NBGE) young adults face disproportionate rates of violence and discrimination within systemic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal contexts. Extant literature neglects the study of this population and their unique needs and experiences. This phenomenological study sought to answer the question, “what are the lived experiences of non-binary and gender expansive college students ages 18-24?” This study used a convenience sampling strategy with a snowball approach, and recruited college students across the state of Texas. A total of 10 participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. All participants identified as assigned female at birth (AFAB). 70% of participants were white, and 30% were Hispanic, Latinx, or multiracial. Results were interpreted through the lens of Minority Stress Theory. Thematic analysis uncovered four emergent themes: (a) pressure to conform to a binary, (b) emotional labor, (c) identity-based insidious trauma, and (d) resilience. Unique findings included interpersonal pressure to conform to binary gender roles, impact of gendered socialization on assertion of gender identity, erasure of feminine presenting NBGE identities, and overlapping oppressions in the forms of sexism and transmisogyny. This study corroborated findings in the sparse existing body of literature in regard to forms of oppression experienced by NBGE individuals, and provided recommendations for practice, policy, research, and social work education.


Non-binary, Gender expansive, Transgender, Minority stress


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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Social Work Commons