Purpose. Motivations and experiences of people who have body modifications has been studied over the past several decades. However, the majority of these studies may include, but do not exclusively, study the motivations and experiences of genital piercings in the transgender community. This study uses a qualitative design to explore the motivations, expectations, and experiences of getting a genital piercing within the transgender community, as well as how genital piercings relate to transgender identities. Methods. Participants were required to be at least 18, have a genital piercing, and identify as transgender. Recruitment was conducted through Facebook and a professional piercer. Participants were directed to take an online screener survey before being invited to participate in a semi-structured interview. Four participants completed the screener survey. One of those four participants followed through with the online interview. To analyze the interview transcript, a hybrid-method of thematic analysis was used. Double-coding was used to validate the code developed. Results. The analysis found eight themes: Motivation to Reclaim One's Body; Support; Piercers Should Create a Safe Environment; Genital Piercing Leads to Acceptance; Connecting to One's Sexual Identity through a Genital Piercing; Use of a Genital Piercing to Self-Express and Identify with One's Gender; Lack of Information or Resources; and An Alternative Modification. Discussion. The results from this study can be used to give direction for future research. One important finding was the utility of a genital piercing to develop self-acceptance and an alternative to less accessible transition-related procedures.


Eric Sprankle

Committee Member

Jeffrey Buchanan

Committee Member

Jessica Flatequal

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright