The Plight of the Trans Student

Public Deposited

Trans students face several challenges that limit their pursuit of higher education. These challenges include inadequate support, lack of inclusion and understanding, unfair treatment, and disparities linked to social stigma, discrimination, and the denial of civil rights. These challenges affect their college experience and put them at an elevated risk of suicide, psychiatric care and hospitalization, poor academic performance, truancy, school dropouts, drug and substance abuse, and sexually risky behaviors, among other risky behaviors or acts. The lack of enrollment, inclusion, or acceptance of trans students in some colleges is attributed to numerous factors, including negative perceptions of transgender people. This study investigated the perceptions of trans students in higher education concerning their inclusion and acceptance in college. The study assumed that the respondents were not biased about their identity and responses and that the instrument used to collect the responses produced reliable answers. The setting of the study was in a public institution located in Northern New Jersey. Enrollment in higher education and identification as a trans student were the inclusion criteria for this study. The study was composed of seven participants. All seven students identified themselves as trans students. Before the study, the researcher sought approval from the IRB. The participants were also asked to sign an informed consent before the study. The participants received a $25.00 Visa gift card for participating in the study. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from the participants. The responses obtained were then analyzed using a thematic approach. These steps the researcher used NVivo12, a qualitative analysis software, to conduct the analysis. Most of the participants reported that they had experienced positive experience in college or university. The majority of the participants reported that they were grateful to have access to the PRIDE club. Three of the seven stated that the PRIDE club helped them make friends. Six of the seven participants predominantly emphasized the importance of pronouns and faculty members using the appropriate ones. Four participants agreed that there was a lack of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. Regarding the normalization of students on campus, three of the seven participants explained that they would feel much more comfortable if being trans would have equal consideration as cisgender people or that they would not be singled out and marginalized. Five of the seven participants reported that their fellow students accepted them, and this contributed to them feeling included. Only one of the seven participants felt discomfort due to exclusion by other students (this did not include an in-depth look at the effects of micro-aggressions). The findings of the study indicate that majority of trans students feel accepted by their colleges and fellow students. The results of the study also showed that clubs such as the PRIDE club play a crucial role in providing a supportive environment for trans students. However, this study had some limitations. One of the limitations of this study is that the sample used was exceedingly small, and thus it does not accurately represent the entire population. Therefore, future research should use a large sample when investigating the perceptions of transgender students in higher education. Secondly, the tool used to collect responses were not efficient in detecting biases in the responses. Additional limitations were that not all trans students in the college are members of the Pride Club. A final limitation included the ability to gain trust with the participants.

Last modified
  • 03/05/2024
Date created
Resource type
Rights statement


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