Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Jane M. Georges, RN, PhD, Chairperson; Ann M. Mayo, RN, DNSc, FAAN Member; Nnenna Weathers, RN, PhD, Member


Healthcare access, LGBTI, self-fullfilment, Transgender, Transgender Community Solidarity, Transitioning


Background: According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (2015), LGBTI individuals delay healthcare treatment because they fear stigmatization or because they believe many healthcare professionals lack knowledge and experience working with LGBTI individuals. The phenomenon of living as a transgender person and accessing trans-related healthcare is understudied.

Aim: To explore the perceived meaning of accessing transgender-related healthcare among transgender youth.

Method: A phenomenological qualitative design grounded on Husserl’s descriptive phenomenology was used to explore the ascribed meaning associated to accessing trans-related healthcare services among transyouth as they experienced and perceived it. A purposive and thematic sample of Male-to-Female transyouth ages 21 to 24 years residing in Los Angeles California was obtained. Data was collected through digitally recorded one-on-one, face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Colaizzi’s descriptive phenomenological strategy was used to integrate significant statements into principal themes.

Findings: Three major themes were identified: Transitioning, Self-Fulfillment, and Trans Community Solidarity. Transitioning was of utmost importance to the participants as it allowed them to live full and authentic lives, and trans community solidarity was important in mitigating the stigma faced by transyouth. Transitioning not only helped in aligning the participants’ gender identities and physical bodies, but also in allowing others to see and interact with the participants in the ways that were consistent with how the participants saw themselves. Having access to trans-related healthcare assisted all participants to be happy and comfortable in their female self. Accessing trans-related healthcare facilitated integration into the closely-knit trans community that served as a support system for the participants due to their shared experiences.

Conclusion: This study suggests that developing a trans person’s sense of belonging to the trans community can be enhanced by helping them develop their transgender identity. This in turn potentially has the ability to improve mental health and thus quality of life for trans individuals. Implication: It is imperative that healthcare professionals and policy-makers recognize the significance and impact of transitioning and ensure timely and efficient access to trans-related healthcare resources for trans individuals.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access