Transgender Friendship Profiles: Patterns Across Gender Identity and LGBT Affiliation
- 813 Downloads
The present study explores the close friendship patterns of transgender individuals by considering the role of gender identity (trans men, trans women, non-binary) and LGBT affiliation (affiliated, non-affiliated) on friends’ identities. Participants were 495 transgender individuals who completed a questionnaire reporting their identities as well as the identities of their close friends. Friendship patterns were explored based on the number of friends who identified as transgender/cisgender, sexual minority/heterosexual, and LGBT affiliated/non-affiliated. Overall, participants reported more cisgender (vs. transgender) friends and more sexual minority (vs. heterosexual friends), suggesting that the majority of their friendships are experienced in a cross-gender identity context. However, important friendship patterns were distinguished across LGBT affiliation and gender identity of the participant. Trans participants who were LGBT affiliated (vs. non-affiliated) reported more transgender friends, more sexual minority friends, and more LGBT affiliated friends. With regard to gender identity, trans men reported more sexual minority and more LGBT affiliated friends when compared to trans women. In addition, trans women reported more non-affiliated friends than both trans men and non-binary individuals. Discussion focuses on the implications of the findings regarding the distinct experiences of trans individuals across gender identity and the common assumptions behind research that frames transgender experience within the larger LGBT community.
KeywordsTransgender Gender identity Friendship LGBT community
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This research was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of the home institution. These guidelines ensured that we received informed consent by our adult participants.
- 5.Beemyn, G., & Rankin, S. (2011). The lives of transgender people. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- 9.Bradford, J., Reisner, S. L., Honnold, J. A., & Xavier, J. (2013). Experiences of transgender-related discrimination and implications for health: Results from the Virginia Transgender Health Initiative Study. American Journal of Public Health, 103(10), 1820–1829. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 11.Canary, D. J., Emmers-Sommer, T. M., & Faulkner, S. (1997). Sex and gender differences in personal relationships. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- 13.Chang, S., Kumar, V., Gilbert, E., & Terveen, L. C. (2014). Specialization, homophily, and gender in a social curation site: findings from pinterest. In Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on computer supported cooperative work & social computing (pp. 674–686). http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2531602.2531660.
- 14.Dillman, D. A., Smyth, J. D., & Christian, L. M. (2014). Internet, mail, and mixed-mode surveys: The tailored design method author. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
- 15.Duck, S. (1991). Understanding relationships. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- 17.Erickson-Schroth, L. (Ed.). (2014). Trans bodies, trans selves: A resource for the transgender community. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 18.Esterberg, K. G. (1997). Lesbian and bisexual identities: Constructing communities, constructing selves. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
- 21.Fassinger, R. E., & Arseneau, J. R. (2007). ‘I’d rather get wet than be under the umbrella: Differentiating the experiences and identities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In K. J. Biesche, R. M. Perez, & K. A. DeBord (Eds.), Handbook of counseling and psychotherapy with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients (pp. 19–49). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 26.Galupo, M. P., Bauerband, L. A., Gonzalez, K. A., Hagen, D. B., Hether, S. D., & Krum, T. E. (2014). Transgender friendship experiences: Benefits and barriers of friendships across gender identity and sexual orientation. Feminism & Psychology, 24(2), 193–215. doi: 10.1177/0959353514526218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 29.Galupo, M. P., Henise, S. B., & Davis, K. S. (2014). Transgender microaggressions in the context of friendship: Patterns of experience across friends’ sexual orientation and gender identity. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 1(4), 461–470. doi: 10.1037/sgd0000075.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 31.Galupo, M. P., Pulice-Farrow, L., & Ramirez, J. L. (2017). “Like a constantly flowing river”: Gender identity flexibility among non-binary transgender individuals. In J. D. Sinnott (Ed.), Identity flexibility during adulthood: Perspectives in adult development. Springer.Google Scholar
- 50.Nardi, P. M. (1999). Gay men’s friendships: Invincible communities. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- 51.Nuttbrock, L. A., Bockting, W. O., Hwahng, S., Rosenblum, A., Mason, M., Macri, M., et al. (2009). Gender identity affirmation among male-to-female transgender persons: A life course analysis across types of relationships and cultural/lifestyle factors. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 24(2), 108–125. doi: 10.1080/14681990902926764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 53.Price, J. (1999). Navigating differences: Friendships between gay and straight men. New York: Harrington.Google Scholar
- 55.Rawlins, W. K. (1992). Friendship matter: Communication, dialectics, and the life course. New York: Aldine DeGruyter.Google Scholar
- 64.Stanley, J. L. (1996). The lesbian’s experience of friendship. In J. Weinstock & E. Rothblum (Eds.), Lesbian friendships: For others and each other (pp. 39–59). New York, NY: New York University Press.Google Scholar
- 65.Suttles, G. (1970). Friendship as a social institution. In G. J. McCall, N. K. Denzin, G. D. Suttles, & S. B. Kurth (Eds.), Social relationships (pp. 95–135). Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co.Google Scholar
- 66.Tate, C. C. (2014). Gender identity as a personality process. In B. L. Miller (Ed.), Gender identity: Disorders, developmental perspectives, and social implications (pp. 1–22). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
- 69.Tillmann-Healy, L. M. (2001). Between gay and straight: Understanding friendship across sexual orientation. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
- 74.Weeks, J. (1995). Invented moralities: Sexual values in an age of uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- 78.Weston, K. (1991). Families we choose. In P. M. Nardi & B. E. Schneider (Eds.), Social perspectives in lesbian and gay studies (p. 390). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- 79.Zitz, C. (2011). Friendships in the lives of transgender individuals (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://create.canterbury.ac.uk/10327/.