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Mathematics Education Research Journal



Although there is little research on the experiences of queer and/or transgender postsecondary students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, we can infer from current literature that these subjects may be less welcoming than the humanities and social sciences. We conducted two studies to investigate this possibility: (1) a narrative inquiry study with postsecondary transgender students and (2) a grounded theory narrative study with undergraduate queer students. Transgender students who had transitioned indicated that they were subjected to lower expectations when presenting as female, but transgender women experienced this change as positive, since their treatment by others was no longer accompanied by gender dysphoria. Queer students experienced mathematics and other STEM fields as objective and independent of identity, yet simultaneously exclusionary of their queer identities. Many of the queer students in these studies found strength and resilience in queer communities, but there were some transgender women who did not view being queer as a central facet of their identity and did not feel the same sense of community. In general, those who were more gender-nonconforming felt a greater need for community with other queer people. We draw connections between gender category oppression and gender transgression oppression, and suggest strategies to make academic STEM fields more inclusive of queer and transgender students.


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