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The meaning of the lived experience of transsexual individuals Meredith, Leah

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine how transsexual individuals who lived their lives as the sex other than that to which they were born made sense of their lives. The lived experience of transsexual people is currently lacking in the literature. This study has begun to fill that gap in an attempt to provide transsexual individuals with a voice. A phenomenological research method was employed to pull out the major themes of the interviews. The interviews consisted of six participants; three male to female transsexuals and three female to male. All of the participants lived their lives as the sex other than that to which they were born. Some had completley transitioned, while others were in the beginning stages. The transcribed data were analyzed using the Stevick- Colaizzi-Keen method, modified by Moustakas (1994). Twenty themes were extracted that fell into four categories including the decision to act, relationships with others, relationship with their bodies and relationship with themselves. Themes that were experienced were an imperative to change, fraudulent feelings with regards to relationships with others, a sense of disconnection with their bodies before their transitions and a sense of relaxation following their transition. The common themes that were extcracted were returned to the participants for validation. The meaning of the lived experience of transsexual individuals is one that has had little discussion in the literature. Because of this lack, the participants in this study were anxious to tell their stories to help those who will come along behind them as well as those in helping professions. Implications for counselling and for further research were included in the discussion section.

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