Abstract: Cheated an Upbringing of Boyhood: Transmasculine Latinx Experience (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Cheated an Upbringing of Boyhood: Transmasculine Latinx Experience

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Valley of the Sun A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Javier Garcia-Perez, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Discrimination based on transgender identity leads to unequal access to education, employment, and other economic resources, which then create economic insecurity impacting safe housing and income (Wilson et al., 2016). Stress related to transgender-based discrimination may similarly affect mental health outcomes (Wilson et al., 2016). Additionally, racial discrimination on top of gender-based stigma may have a profound effect on mental health. The aim of this study is to build knowledge from the individual perspective on the TransMasc Latinx experiences to inform further research and potential interventions to support improvement in mental health outcomes.

Methods: Individual semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted October 2020 to January 2021 via Zoom with participants who reside in California, were 18 and older, self-identify as TransMacsuline and identify as Latinx or a variation of the Latinx identity (e.g., Latina/o, Chicana/o, Hispanic). Recruitment was conducted via a snowball sampling method initiated with a recruitment email sent to 95 LGBTQ and Cultural resource centers across California. Interviews lasted approximately one-hour, were recorded, and transcribed for data analysis using ATLAS.ti version 22.0.2.

Results: 3 interviews were conducted with participants ranging from 22-38 in age.1 participant identified with masculine pronouns and 2 with gender neutral pronouns. 1 participant was a graduate student and 2 participants were working professionals working in a range of careers. Although experiences varied across the sample, four concepts surfaced. They are: (1) specific form of identity; (2) coming out; (3) cis lens; and (4) navigating multiple contexts. Participants shared a common understanding of feeling the need to perform a specific form of identity, such as, behavior, presentation, thoughts, and desires. These instances were often emphasized and mixed with cultural and societal norms. Intern, participants were often viewed and forced into a single-identity often not chosen by them. This was usually produced through a cis lens. Lastly, participants expressed the difficulty of navigating multiple contexts.

Implications: While trans research is growing, additional research is paramount to best understand the needs and concerns multiple minoritized trans individuals face. Qualitative data allows us to begin to see a complex and unique experience with minoritized identities that is often misunderstood. Initial results provide a foundation for practitioners to support the population. Culturally responsive and community grounded interventions for Trans Latinx community could counter policing of identities from within community and outside community. Continuing to emphasize intersectionality and the nuances of identity could support Trans Latinx fully experience their multiple identities. Despite the small sample size, key concepts offer a foundation to further research. Particular attention should be placed on individual strengths to build a strengths-based framework to support community mental health. Lastly, further research is necessary to better encourage mental health providers to support positive mental health outcomes.