Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.


Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



For decades gender scholars have recognized the importance of gender to subjectivity, lived experiences, and life chances. Nonbinary gender identities are becoming more recognized by social, legal, and government institutions. However, currently there is a lack of research and scholarship that focuses on nonbinary gender identities. I demonstrate that the sociology of gender must move beyond the constraints of the hegemonic gender binary system in order to have a full and holistic conceptualization of gender. This paper reviews and critically analyzes contemporary interdisciplinary scholarship on nonbinary gender identities, then sets out a research agenda for moving forward. Within this scholarship there are gaps, shortcomings and limitations that arise that include upholding the cis/trans binary, misrepresenting contemporary society as having reached an era of understanding gender complexities, problematic framings of cross-cultural and historical examples, and centering discrimination/violence. I propose a research agenda moving forward should center racialization due to (un)marked whiteness in scholarship, legibility/intelligibility, and the possibilities and knowledge that exist due to existing in a space of exclusion.


First Advisor

Katie Young

Second Advisor

Brian Sargent

Third Advisor

Laurel Smith-Doerr

Included in

Sociology Commons