We report the results of a mixed-methods study to develop an inclusive measure of self-perceived GE for use with gender-diverse LGBTQ young adults.
We consulted the literature and experts to identify and assess existing measures. We located a three-item measure addressing femininity, masculinity, and androgyny (Dockendorff & Geist, 2018). After consulting Dockendorff, we adapted it by integrating five other GE dimensions common among LGBTQ+ young adults (e.g., agender, femme) and a write-in option. Next, we obtained qualitative feedback from LGBTQ+ university students (4 groups, n=16, 50% trans, 25% people of color) about the measure’s clarity, comprehensiveness, and inclusiveness. Alongside wording changes, we revised the measure to consist of five items: agender, androgynous, feminine, masculine, and a write-in option. Participants indicate their self-perceived GE on each dimension (1=Not at all, 7=Very).
The proposed measure was piloted with an online sample of Canadian LGBTQ+ university students (n=332; 40% trans; age M=21yrs; 39% people of color). We included two existing GE measures for comparison purposes; a single-item continuum measure (1=extremely feminine, 5=equally feminine/masculine, 9=extremely masculine); a measure assessing degree of feminine and masculine GE on two different continua (1=Not at all, 7=Very).
The three measures were presented in random order. Participants reviewed each measure and answered questions about each (e.g., ability to understand terms, perceptions of inclusion; 1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly agree). Next they completed each measure and then rank-ordered them in order of preference. We compare results for trans and LGBQ+ cisgender participants.
Among both groups, the majority of participants preferred our proposed measure (64% trans; 52% cisgender), while support was lowest for the single-item continuum measure (15% trans; 18% cisgender); χ²(2)=.134, p=NS. Though our measure was perceived to be the least understood by both groups in terms of terminology (trans M=4.45, cisgender M=4.24; t(330)=2.418, p=.02), it was considered to be the most inclusive one for trans/transgender (trans M= 4.30, cisgender M=4.07, t(330)=2.087, p=.04), genderqueer/fluid/non-binary (trans M=4.34, cisgender M=4.19, t(330)=1.468, p=NS), and cisgender LGBQ+ (trans M=4.34, cisgender M=4.19; t(300)=-0.224, p=NS) communities. It was also the highest rated in terms of enabling accurate reporting of GE (trans M=4.11, cisgender M=4.10, t(329)=0.170, p=NS).
This study addresses a need for an inclusive GE measure. Our measure received very positive feedback from trans and cisgender LGBTQ+ students. We recommend defining terms to foster participants’ understanding. We offer recommendations for its use and future testing.