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Humboldt Journal of Social Relations

Abstract

Recent changes in policies, laws, and public opinion have brought discussions about gender and gender-related topics to the forefront of cultural discourse. In spite of increased acceptance of gender nonconformity in public laws and Supreme Court rulings, we continue to see acts of hostility towards people who express their gender in nontraditional ways on both macro-system and individual levels. Viewing questions surrounding the issues of gender through an identity-oriented lens may shed light on some aspects of this complex topic. The present research utilizes social psychological and gender theories in order to better understand and explore the apparent contradictions in the gender discourse. Through the analysis of survey data on gender identity gathered from a university student population, we seek to illuminate the complex interactions that occur between self-meanings, perceptions, and behaviors related to gender identities. Specifically, we analyze: 1) how self-views of gender relate to perceptions of non-conforming gender displays, 2) how self-views relate to doing gender differently and 3) how these variables relate to perceptions of inclusiveness and safety. We find that self-meanings seem to not relate to perceptions or experiences, but that doing gender differently is related to increases in experiences discrimination and aggressions as well as perceptions about safety and inclusion. Implications and future research options are also discussed.