Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Arthur Freeman, Ed.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Elizabeth A. Gosch, Ph.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

Stephanie R. Felgoise, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William R. Stayton, Th.D.


This research explores the coming-out processes of 11 transgendered individuals who underwent female-to-male sex reassignment. Its purpose is to expand upon the cultural literacy of clinicians called upon to support transgendered clients who present with the intent to transition. The thesis is predicated on the argument that the differently-gendered constitute an understudied and discrete cultural minority, similar to ethnic, racial and sexual minorities, for whom identity formation is similarly impacted by socio-cultural influences. Qualitative content analysis of transcribed semi-structured interviews was conducted. Phase analysis was found to parallel both Cass's 1979 stage-model theory of sexual minority identity formation, and Devor's 2001 stage model of transsexual identity development, with minor variation. Grounded theory building revealed a 4-part coming-out process: (a) an Intrapsychic phase, (b) an Interpersonal/Interactive phase, (c) an Arrival phase, and (d) an Integrative phase Which, by report, uniformly resulted in a heightened quality of life for all participants. The author concludes that the overridingly positive outcomes are attributable to early parent-child attachment and the increase in ego strength conferred by sex and gender congruency, suggesting avenues for future investigation.