Behind Closed Doors: The Untold Challenges of Transgender and Nonbinary Graduate Students in Chemistry

17 May 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Transgender, nonbinary, two spirit, and gender-expansive students are marginalized in higher education and have significantly different college experiences than their cisgender peers. Through in-depth interviews, this research illuminates the nuanced experiences of transgender students navigating academia in chemistry graduate programs, revealing the disparities between institutional rhetoric and tangible support. From grappling with the absence of inclusive policies to the burdens of advocating for institutional change, participants confronted systemic barriers that impeded their academic and personal growth. This study underscores the imperative for transparent and proactive support structures within academic departments to foster an environment where transgender and nonbinary individuals can thrive. As the political landscape intensifies with escalating threats to transgender rights, this research serves as a clarion call for academia to confront and ameliorate the challenges faced by marginalized populations in STEM fields.


graduate education
transgender students
LGBTQ students
reflexive thematic analysis
higher education
chemistry education research

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Information
Semi-structured interview questions, exit survey instrument, analysis codebook, and supporting data for the "Hedge Bets" theme about factors the participants weighed while comparing graduate programs.


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