Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Lolita Tabron

Second Advisor

D-L Stewart

Third Advisor

Jayson Richardson


Education, Inclusion, Liberation, Phenomenology, Trans, Youth


The primary aim of this phenomenological study is to elevate trans youth voice to understand the essence of their individual and shared lived experiences within school systems designed for them to be silenced, excluded, and erased. In alignment with Eve Tuck’s desire-based research, this study is designed to counter deficit narratives of trans youth. Participants include six racially and ethnically diverse trans youth, ages 13−17 in the U.S. state of Colorado. Analyses revealed four themes: a gender-identity transition journey; navigating geography; safety and the impact of school culture; creating belonging through a coalition of community and friendship; and youth lessons learned and recommendations. From these themes, three essences emerged: adultism, situational outness, and defiant joy/resistance. Findings from this study can be used to inform high-quality adult education on trans identities and inclusion for educational leaders and school staff. Findings can also inform trans inclusive policy at district and school levels through an intensive equity audit within school systems. The essences of this study and recommendations from trans youth can support researchers to replicate desire-based studies and educational leaders who foster inclusive cultures where trans youth thrive with full support.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Klaudia Neufeld


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


202 pgs

File Size

1.2 MB


Educational leadership, Gender studies, LGBTQ studies