Transgender Experiences of Occupation and the Environment: A Scoping Review

Journal article

Dowers, E, White, C, Kingsley, J and Swenson, R (2019). Transgender Experiences of Occupation and the Environment: A Scoping Review. Journal of Occupational Science. 26 (4), pp. 496-510.
AuthorsDowers, E, White, C, Kingsley, J and Swenson, R

Background: 'Cisnormativity' refers to the Western cultural belief that gender (man/woman) mirrors sex (male/female). This review considers the occupational experiences of people whose gender identity differs from what is expected based on their sex at birth, gender identities operationalised as ‘transgender’. Method: A scoping review was conducted to examine the subjective experiences of occupation for transgender people and the enabling and/or restrictive features of the environment. Forty-one studies were reviewed, using inductive and deductive thematic analysis methods. Results: Three major themes relating to occupational experiences were identified: a) doing difference: gender expression and transition, b) recognisably different: microagressions and transphobia, and c) responding to difference: adaptation and identify affirmation. Environmental barriers were reported at a higher frequency than enabling features and pertained to social, physical, cultural and institutional factors. Conclusions: While occupation enables expression of transgender identities, cisnormative ideology shapes participatory norms in Euro-Western contexts. Occupational opportunities are unequal for transgender people, with the policing of binary gender restricting opportunities for inclusion and participation. This review functions as a critical starting point for broader conceptual thinking on occupation, resistance and identity-management for people who are transgender.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article to be published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Occupational Science, available online:

Transgender, cisnormativity, transphobia, occupation, environment.

JournalJournal of Occupational Science
Journal citation26 (4), pp. 496-510
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/14427591.2018.1561382
Web address (URL)
Publication dates
Print03 Feb 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Jan 2019
Accepted26 Nov 2018
Accepted author manuscript
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Page range1-15
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Accepted author manuscript
Dowers et al Journal of Occ Science.docx
License: CC BY 4.0
File access level: Open

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