This thesis explores how non-binary people perceive and manage the threat of discrimination during their daily experiences. Participants (n=9) were interviewed with opened-ended questions about their gender presentation, experiences of discrimination, and use of tactics to navigate perceived discrimination in their communities. The difference of geographic location had the biggest impact on how participants responded to the set of interview questions. Non-binary people from rural areas perceived people to discriminate against them and actively engaged in avoidance tactics including keeping their gender identities closeted and engaging in presentation shifts. In sharp contrast, participants from urban or suburban areas used tactics to affirm their gender presentation. They were less likely to perceive discrimination by others which contributed to presenting their gender as non-binary more openly and without fear of discrimination. When discrimination such as misgendering did occur, these urban participants were more likely to use affirmative tactics to assert their gender identities or lean on support systems to validate their gender performance.


Aaron Hoy

Committee Member

Dennis Waskul

Committee Member

Laura Harrison

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)

Program of Study

Sociology/College Teaching Emphasis


Humanities and Social Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright