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"Just Go In Looking Good": The Resilience, Resistance, and Kinship-Building of Trans* College Students
Nicolazzo, Z

2015, Doctor of Philosophy, Miami University, Educational Leadership.
Despite the growing emergence of literature and scholarship on trans* people, the lives of trans* college students have received little attention. Moreover, of the small amount of scholarship on trans* collegians, much of it is based in deficit models and rhetoric and is drawn from broader LGBTQ participant pools. This study addressed the aforementioned lacks by inquiring into the resilience and strategies trans* students used to successfully navigate their gender-dichotomous college environments.

Informed by critical and trans*-specific theoretical perspectives, I used a collaborative ethnographic methodology and a poststructural analytical framework to proliferate possible understandings for how trans* collegians remained resilient and successful in an environment that was not built with them in mind. During our 18 months of fieldwork together, a diverse group of nine trans* participants and I explored the way gender operated at City University (CU, a pseudonym). Due to the cultural manifestations of gender at CU, participants were influenced by the twin realities of what I refer to in this dissertation as the "gender binary discourse" and "compulsory heterogenderism" at CU. Participants and I also explored how they created, developed, and maintained connections with students, faculty, and staff of all genders, using these networks, which we called "kinship networks," to enhance their resilience and success, building our own kinship relationships in the process.

Participants and I had different experiences of the gender binary discourse and compulsory heterogenderism. These differences were largely due to our various salient identities, which mediated our experiences of the culture of gender at CU. Rather than collapse these experiences to only those that were "most salient" across participants, this study shares various, sometimes conflicting, analyses of data. This strategy resonates with the diverse array of trans* genders as well as honors the experiences, viewpoints, and resilience of all participants.

This study has implications for how educators understand and work in collegiate environments steeped in binary understandings of gender. Participants and I also highlighted the importance of developing kinship networks that supersede the physical boundaries of a college campus. The study concludes with participants giving their own recommendations for faculty, staff, and students.
Elisa S. Abes, Ph.D. (Committee Chair)
Stephen John Quaye, Ph.D. (Committee Member)
Lisa D. Weems, Ph.D. (Committee Member)
Susan B. Marine, Ph.D. (Committee Member)
Madelyn M. Detloff, Ph.D. (Committee Member)
219 p.

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Nicolazzo, Z. (2015). "Just Go In Looking Good": The Resilience, Resistance, and Kinship-Building of Trans* College Students . (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Nicolazzo, Z. ""Just Go In Looking Good": The Resilience, Resistance, and Kinship-Building of Trans* College Students ." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2015. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 22 Oct 2017.

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Nicolazzo, Z ""Just Go In Looking Good": The Resilience, Resistance, and Kinship-Building of Trans* College Students ." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2015. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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