Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School/College

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

Celia Winkler

Commitee Members

June Ellestad, Bryan Cochran


Gender, Identity, Intersectionality, Queer Theory, Perpetrator, Violence, Transgender


University of Montana


This study uses in-depth interviews to understand how a highly vulnerable population in America, the transgender community, understands and responds to violence. Many Americans do not realize that their neighbor or friend does not identify or live as the sex a doctor assigned to them. They also do not realize that because transgender individuals do not follow societies standards of behavior, perpetrators notice and display violence towards them. But how do these people understand and respond to this daily threat? Theorists have argued that people do not experience violence based on one identity alone or a group of identities added together. Instead identities intersect making unique experiences for different people. I used semi-structured qualitative interviews to examine how different transgender individuals understand and respond to violence. Through my analysis I learned their coping mechanisms, what types of abuse they face, whether they report the incident, and how they view the identities. Although many of the identities fall in line with how modern research describes them, other identities seemed vague or unnecessary to the participants. I also demonstrate that the perpetrators vary but usually have some form of perceived or actual power over the victims.

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