Transgender, nonbinary, graduate education, social work education, doctoral student, intersectionality


Social work programs have been largely silent in the face of legislative at- tacks on transgender/nonbinary (TGNB or “trans”) communities across the U.S., which signals to TGNB students that they may not be supported in their respective programs. Consequently, TGNB students, staff, and faculty shoulder the burden to advocate for change within social work academic institutions and to speak out about violence perpetrated against TGNB communities. Using our voices as two trans doctoral students and a queer cisgender associate professor, we employed collaborative and critical autoethnography to share insights about the impact of this burden on TGNB social work students and their mentors. These burdens take the shape of gender and race “noise,” invisibility and abandonment, and the need to scavenge for resources and community. We end with a discussion and recommendations to recruit, retain, and support TGNB graduate students as they matriculate through schools of social work.

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