Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type

Professional Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Service


College of Professional Studies

First Advisor

Jay Caulfield


The purpose of this study was to describe the demography, quality of life, and genderrelated life experiences of Wisconsin’s transgender residents. For this mixed-methods pilot study, a snowball sampling technique was used to recruit transgender Wisconsin residents (n=29) to complete an anonymous online survey that included demographic measures, quality of life measures, and free response questions on experiences related to respondents’ gender in specific contexts. The original survey instrument was modeled on similar reliability and validity-tested instruments and was field-tested before being used. Descriptive analysis was used to interpret demographic and quality of life data and thematic content analysis was used to interpret qualitative data on gender-related life experiences. The sample was diverse in terms of demography. The average participant was 18-30 years of age, white, prescribed a sex of female at birth, transgender, queer, and partnered. Quality of life among the sample was lower than among the U.S. population. The rate of homelessness was higher than the national average and unemployment was more than twice the national rate. On average, participants were in good health, of low-middle income, and more educated than the average American. While a history of mental health issues was prevalent, respondents reported being in average to good mental health. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) status was overwhelmingly negative and sexual risk behaviors were low. Incidence of negative gender-related experiences was high within the contexts of healthcare and education and 63% of respondents reported having been harassed because of their trans* identity.