Examining identity development and transition differences among binary transgender and genderqueer nonbinary (GQNB) individuals.

Alexander K. Tatum, Jory Catalpa, Nova J. Bradford, Alex Kovic, Dianne R. Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Existing research on transgender individuals often frames the transgender population as homogeneous and tends to stratify the population into categories based on only sex assigned at birth. A growing body of literature has focused on the different experiences of those who identify as binary and those genderqueer or nonbinary (GQNB) individuals who defy binary categorization. Important distinctions between health outcomes between these subcategories of the population have begun to be elucidated. At the same time, little is known about differences in developmental trajectories between binary transgender and GQNB individuals. By understanding differences across the life span, researchers may be better suited to identify underlying milestones that serve as critical points in the development of discrepant health outcomes and use them to promote optimal health. Using data collected from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (James et al., 2016), we identified 7 different transition milestones guided by Johnson's (2016) transnormative framework. Analyses of variance examined differences between binary transgender individuals and GQNB individuals. Post hoc analyses examined group differences between trans men, trans women, assigned female at birth genderqueer, and assigned male at birth genderqueer individuals. Significant differences were observed among the average age of each group with respect to each developmental milestone. Results suggest that applying a transnormative narrative to understanding the development of GQNB individuals may inadvertently marginalize the unique experiences of this heterogeneous population. Implications are discussed from clinical and social justice perspectives. Recommendations for honoring individual differences among GQNB persons are made for psychologists working this population. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved) Public Significance Statement—The current study examined developmental differences between binary transgender and genderqueer or nonbinary individuals. Significant age differences were found regarding when individuals from four different transgender or nonconforming groups reached specific identity and transition milestones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-385
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association


  • GQNB
  • development
  • nonbinary
  • transgender
  • transnormativity


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