Transgender individuals often face discrimination in multiple domains, such as in employment and healthcare settings, among others. This can affect their overall job satisfaction, job security, financial stability, physical and emotional wellbeing. Furthermore, past literature indicates that the prevalence of suicide, substance use/abuse, and mental illness, tend to be higher among gender-nonconforming populations. To enhance understanding of the above adverse issues and kinds of discriminatory practices that take place within these settings—and within greater society; this study integrates a social-ecological framework. Such an approach focuses on how stigma impacts individuals at various levels: structurally, interpersonally, and individually. Particularly, U.S. westernized culture has adopted a gender binary system. Present in mainstream education, the binary system perpetuates illiteracy of transgender knowledge within individuals, research, and learning environments by excluding the “other”. Inevitably, effecting laws, policies, and the behaviors of others. For instance, currently there are no outright federal protections against gender identity discrimination. Instead, individual states and localities govern laws, which are not all-embracing. Considered part of the structural level, these sanctions influence policies, protections, and outreach resources within workplace and healthcare organizations. Moreover, everyday interpersonal relations between individuals and their doctors, mental health providers, employers, employees, and/or other key players, are influenced by professional knowledge/awareness and laws. Together, these layers simultaneously affect how one responds at the individual level. The goal of this project is to make sense of these interrelated parts, as well as include potential ways in which stakeholders can support and advocate for transgender persons.

Date of Award


Document Type

Capstone Paper


Counselor Education

First Advisor

Mitch Moore

Unique Identifier




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