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Binary-trans, non-binary and gender-questioning adolescents' experiences in UK schools

Bower-Brown, S., Zadeh, S. & Jadva, V. ORCID: 0000-0003-0922-0694 (2021). Binary-trans, non-binary and gender-questioning adolescents' experiences in UK schools. Journal of LGBT Youth, 20(1), pp. 74-92. doi: 10.1080/19361653.2021.1873215


A growing number of adolescents are using a number of different identities to describe their gender. Schools have been noted for their uninclusive environments and high levels of discrimination for LGBTQ + individuals, yet research has neglected the school experiences of UK gender-diverse adolescents. This article explores the school experiences and navigation strategies of gender-diverse adolescents in the UK, examining the experiences of binary-trans, non-binary and gender-questioning adolescents separately. The data presented in this article come from a large survey of LGBTQ + young people’s social experiences; a subsample of 74 adolescents’ (25 binary-trans, 25 non-binary, and 24 gender-questioning) open-ended responses were selected for qualitative thematic analysis. Findings highlight that gender-diverse adolescents experience discrimination within the school environment from the curriculum, space, peers and teachers, and a number of strategies, including disclosure negotiation, cognitive restructuring and proactive protection, are used to navigate this environment. Findings shed light on the school experiences of gender-diverse adolescents, and suggest that the British school system is fundamentally unsuitable for non-binary and gender-questioning identities.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: Transgender, non-binary, gender-questioning, school, adolescence
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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