American Sociological Association

Emergence of Third Spaces: Exploring Trans Students’ Campus Climate Perceptions Within Collegiate Environments

Our study aims to understand trans students’ perceptions of campus climate, with a particular focus on students’ demographics, academic experiences, and cocurricular experiences. We use Bhabha’s concept of third space as an epistemological lens and Rankin and Reason’s transformational tapestry model as a theoretical framework. Using a national sample of 207 trans collegians from the National LGBTQ Alumnx Survey, we utilize regression analysis supplemented by an analysis of open-ended responses to highlight the experiences of trans respondents. Results demonstrate the relationship between trans students’ campus climate perceptions and year of graduation, outness, academic training, and LGBTQ academic/cocurricular experiences. We close by discussing campus climate experiences and the third space that trans students must navigate within colleges and universities, and we provide recommendations for higher-education practitioners and scholars.


Jason C. Garvey, Sydnee Viray, Katie Stango, Claire Estep, and Jae Jaeger





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