Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Jeong-eun Rhee, Ph.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

David Casamento, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Shaireen Rasheed, Ph.D.


Trans students are part of a heteronormative culture of shared spaces within secondary education. Spaces that are complicated by external and internal factors that simultaneously contradict and complement each other. Functioning within a Queer Theory framework, this qualitative study explores the complex relationships between student agency, student identity, and school function, as expressed in the retrospective accounts of five trans participants who all attended suburban high schools in New York. Poetic transcription challenges the extant research of trans students. Studies that predominately consolidate the transgender experience under the umbrella of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and questioning (LGBTQ), a conflation that creates confused understandings of gender identity. In addition to this, trans enumerated research primarily reports predictive factors that identify trans students as a higher risk marginalized population. Cumulatively, these research strands serve to perpetuate troubling discourses that influence educational practices on both the institutional and pedagogical levels. This study disrupts this discourse, sharing the retrospective narrative of trans student voices and exposing educational policy and methods that, at the very best, are well-intentioned, and at their worst, are oppressive or exclusionary. Participant trans actions serve as a call for poetic justice, empowerment, and positive representation of trans students.