Qualitative Examination of Transgender Asian Americans Navigating and Negotiating Cultural Identities and Values

Jayden L. Thai, Stephanie L. Budge, Laurie D. McCubbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


It is undeniable that the field of transgender and nonbinary (TNB) research has grown exponentially since the turn of the century. In contrast, literature on Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals has been a well-established field of research for many decades. However, limited research has focused on TNB AAPI individuals’ experiences. In particular, little continues to be known regarding the ways in which this population negotiates their TNB and AAPI cultural identities and values. The purpose of this study was to examine the process in which TNB AAPI individuals negotiate their cultural identities and values, in hopes of expanding, diversifying, and challenging hegemonic TNB and AAPI narratives by generating complex foundational understanding of TNB AAPI identity processes. Phenomenological qualitative methodology was used to analyze the data. Semi-structured Skype interviews were conducted with a nationwide sample of 10 TNB AAPI individuals. Participants’ ages ranged between 21 and 42 years of age (M = 29.6; SD = 7.68). Results yielded six themes: American Cultural Values, AAPI Cultural Values, Cultural Influences on Gender Identity, Personal Values, Questioning Belongingness, and Meaning Making. The findings challenge monolithic, unidimensional narratives of the TNB AAPI experiences of navigating cultural spaces and negotiating cultural identities and values. Participants’ narratives showcased the wide spectrum of emotions, as well their own understandings of their lived experiences as TNB AAPI individuals. Individualistic clinical implications and Western conceptualization of self-determination were challenged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-316
Number of pages16
JournalAsian American Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. American Psychological Association


  • Asian
  • Identity
  • Process
  • Racial
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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