Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Renee V. Galliher


Renee V. Galliher


Melissa Tehee


Tyler Lefevor


Transgender people are a historically marginalized and disenfranchised group, leading to discriminatory interpersonal treatment such as sexual objectification experiences (SOEs), a type of objectification. Women look at themselves the way men look at them, reducing themselves to objects for someone else’s viewing. This flattening of oneself to value your bodily presentation over functioning increases dissociative states and promotes disordered eating behaviors. Non-binary people experience additive stressors within objectification experiences as people with less social power than cisgender women. This thesis is composed of three separate studies aimed at understanding the SOEs of non-binary people.

The first of three studies recruited 10 non-binary people to explore their SOEs through interviews. Non-binary participants shared sexual objectification experiences, the impact SOEs had on their wellbeing, and the resilience they cultivated in the face of SOEs. The second study used a flow chart tool to process SOEs in a sample of 10 non-binary people, instructing participants to use the chart in real time to move through a SOE. Participants described an emotionally rich experience with this tool and generally found it helpful as well as challenging. Finally, the third study used body maps, or the artistic expression of participants’ relationships with their bodies, to further explore the impact that SOEs had on the participants’ relationship with their bodies with 10 non-binary participants. It is our hope that findings from these thesis studies will be used for increased awareness and advocacy on the experiences of non-binary people in clinical practice and research.



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