Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Sara L. Crawley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donileen Loseke, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James Cavendish, Ph.D.


genderqueer, non binary, queer, narrative


Historically, in academic literature—sociological and otherwise—surrounding the daily lives of LGBT+ people, people who reject binary gender are very marginally represented. In this study, I specifically seek to understand the way my participants articulate their sense of their gender identities through the stories they tell of their experiences. This study attempts to answer the following questions: What are the stories of gender identity construction for people who reject binary gender? How do they understand the ways they are held accountable to binary gender in the day-to-day? How do they perceive and make meaning of gender in their lives? Through ten in-depth interviews with participants accessed through online groups and snowball sampling, this project reinforces gender surveillance and accountability theories such as West and Zimmerman's. Although participants largely identified the root of their feelings about gender as within their selves, the stories they told about their experiences of gender revealed that interactions with others were important and thus have a large effect on their lives. This indicates that these interactions with others where participants are held accountable to binary gender do have an impact on the ways they construct their gender and selves but because this has been such a consistent part of their lives, participants perceive this as innate to their selves and private feelings.