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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Michelle Budig

Second Advisor

Joya Misra

Third Advisor

Lee Badgett

Subject Categories

Inequality and Stratification


Sociologists have always acknowledged the complexity of gender, but despite acknowledging this complexity, much sociological research does not put this knowledge into practice; indeed, a great deal of research focuses on distinctions between men and women with regard to some other variable, reinforcing a narrow and binary understanding of gender. This tendency has two limitations: (1) it does not recognize the variability in men's and women's expression of masculinity and femininity; and (2) it does not recognize gender identities other than those of cisgender man and cisgender woman (i.e., transgender people). This study mitigates this limitation through telling a story in three sections about gender in educational settings and the workplace. I begin the process of disrupting binary social science through evaluating how understanding men's and women's masculinity and femininity can help us understand gender differences in choice of college major. In other words, I use additional ways of measuring gender in addition to the gender identities of men and women. I continue disrupting binary thinking through broadening measurement of gender identity to include transgender people (transgender men, transgender women, and nonbinary transgender people, who are those who identify as a gender other than man or woman). The second section evaluates how harassment and discrimination in educational settings, both K-12 and postsecondary, influence the educational attainment of transgender people. Finally, in the third section, I evaluate transgender people's experiences with discrimination at work.