Transgender people negotiating intimate relationships.

Damien Riggs, Henry von Doussa, Jennifer Power

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Given the relationship between discrimination and poor mental health, it is perhaps understandable that much of the research to date focusing on transgender people has concentrated on the mental health of this population. Such research has been important for documenting experiences of marginalisation and victimisation, and for identifying the needs of transgender people in terms of mental health service provision (see Riggs, Ansara & Treharne, 2014, for a summary). Yet this focus on discrimination and mental health only speaks of one - albeit significant - aspect of the lives of transgender people. Much overlooked are the experiences that transgender people have of negotiating intimate relationships. To contribute to the growing body of research that has sought to correct this imbalance, this chapter begins by first providing an overview of previous literature on the topic of transgender people and intimate relationships, before reporting on findings from an Australian qualitative study focused on the topic. Importantly, the findings suggest both that understanding transgender people’s experiences of intimacy cannot occur absent of an understanding of the effects of discrimination, but that recognising the impact of discrimination does not explain all there is to know about transgender people’s experiences of intimacy. Beyond the impact of both discrimination and cisgenderism, for many transgender people experiences of intimacy are fulfilling and meaningful. The chapter concludes with recommendations derived from these findings for clinicians who work with transgender clients.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSexuality, Sexual and Gender Identities and Intimacy Research in Social Work and Social Care
Subtitle of host publicationA Lifecourse Epistemology
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781315398778
ISBN (Print)9781138225879
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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