Date of Conferral







Tracy Marsh


Suicide attempt and completion rates are significantly higher for the transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) population. TGNC adolescents experience many challenges and adversities, which are compounded when they live in rural communities. The lived experiences of rural TGNC adolescents with social media were unknown and created a gap in the research. This study was grounded in transgender, gender minority stress, and resiliency theories, along with the conceptual frameworks of rural communities and grit. The purpose of this descriptive phenomenological qualitative research study was to explore the lived experiences of rural TGNC individuals (18-24-year-olds) with social media during adolescence. Data was collected through a brief online survey and face-to-face interviews with 9 participants. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Data analysis included clustering of themes into textual and structural descriptions, as described by Giorgi. Results explored the lived experience and the essence of social media for rural TGNC adolescents. Rural TGNC adolescents reported emotional awareness and insight with both positive and negative aspects of social media, along with frustration and isolation. These results and implications may inform mental health professionals and providers about the social media experiences of rural TGNC adolescents, including how to incorporate these findings, better serve the rural TGNC population, and increase grit. These findings were also a voice for a hidden population of TGNC individuals living in rural communities during adolescence.