Narratives of gender, sexuality, and community in three generations of genderqueer sexual minorities

Logan L. Barsigian, Phillip L. Hammack, Quinlyn J. Morrow, Bianca D.M. Wilson, Stephen T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Genderqueer identities-those that challenge a strict binary between woman and man-are increasingly visible within mainstream culture and psychological research. However, little is known about generational differences in the lived experience of genderqueer people. Inductive thematic analysis of interviews with 30 genderqueer sexual minorities of 3 distinct generations living the United States revealed 3 major themes: (a) unintelligibility: genderqueer people face challenges in identifying, naming, and expressing their gender due to the constraints of everyday language and material culture; (b) managing stigma through challenging oppression: genderqueer people manage stigma by naming and challenging the gender binary, often in relation to other forms of oppression; and (c) connection beyond mainstream LGBTQ communities: genderqueer people often find connection outside of mainstream LGBTQ spaces, such as through ethnicity-based or sexual subcommunities (e.g., kink/BDSM, polyamorous). Within these themes, key generational patterns included (a) greater challenges among the middle and older generations in naming and expressing a genderqueer identity, especially in relation to their sexual identity; (b) intensified critique of mainstream LGBTQ politics among the younger generation; and (c) greater challenges in finding and maintaining community among the middle and older generations. Across generations, participants emphasized the need to create more inclusive environments by changing language and social structures to deemphasize the gender binary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-292
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Gender identity
  • Gender nonbinary
  • Genderqueer
  • Generation
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Psychology(all)


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