Date of Conferral







Dr. Hedy Dexter


The U.S. Department of Defense’s June 2016 directive-type memorandum 16-005 permitting transgender service members to serve openly in the U.S. military disqualifies transgender personnel with a history of gender dysphoria from serving in the military unless a licensed medical doctor certifies that they have been free from significant distress for 18 months. Research has illuminated the prevalence of gender dysphoria among military veteran transgender members due to their military experiences, but not in active-duty military. Informed by role theory and minority stress theory, the purpose of this interpretive phenomenological analysis study was to explore role conflict and stress in the experience of gender dysphoria among active-duty transgender service members serving in a post-inclusion military. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 full-time active-duty transgender service members who had served for more than 6 months at their first duty location. Seven themes were identified and revealed that active-duty transgender service members suffer from gender dysphoria associated with role conflict and role stress related to their minority status. Service members reduced stress positively (relying on a strong support system and utilizing healthy de-stressing techniques) or negatively (engaging in reckless behavior). The results of this study may be used by counselors and military officials to understand the transgender experience and the right to serve openly in the military.