Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jenny Stuber, Professor

Faculty Mentor Department

Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work


As society becomes more open and welcoming to those of gender identities beyond the binary, it becomes increasingly important to understand their gender identity and presentation. Part of understanding these concepts means understanding how gender identities can exist relationally. Using in-depth interviews, this study explores how nonbinary college students respond to misgendering or deadnaming. These responses involve reflected appraisals, which social psychologists find can impact one’s sense of self and cause alterations in their self-presentation. These data show that nonbinary college students navigate being deadnamed or misgendered through their gender presentation in two primary manners: one, by adjusting presentation to be more affirming to their gender identity; and two, by maintaining their current presentation with the goal of preserving their physical comfort. These data support the notion that gender presentation is a performance, showing that nonbinary young adults consciously adjust their gender presentation to bring about social and physical comfort with their gender identity and, to some extent, to limit conflict in social interactions.