Graduate Studies


First Advisor

Angela Dietsch

Date of this Version

Spring 3-31-2021


Hutchinson, B.H, Dietsch, A. (2021). The Alignment Between Self-Identity and Observable Communication Characteristics of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals. University of Nebraska Lincoln- Communication Sciences and Disorders Department


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Under the Supervision of Professor Angela Dietsch. Lincoln, Nebraska: March, 2021

Copyright © 2021 Bekah Hutchinson


Purpose: Transgender and gender diverse (TGD) individuals’ communication features were analyzed based on self-perception of gender identity and cisgender norms to determine whether those relationships were predictive of TGD speakers’ comfort during communication and experiences of being misgendered on the phone and in person.

Method: Twenty-one TGD persons of various gender identities completed questionnaires and ratings about their gender identity and communication and provided samples of oral reading and neutral conversation tasks. Data regarding multiple communication features were extracted and compared to normative values from cisgender persons for the transfeminine and transmasculine speakers, and constructed values for the gender diverse (non-binary) speakers. Linear regressions were calculated to assess the predictive value of any discrepancies between TGD and cisgender/constructed values on communication comfort and misgendering frequency.

Results: Significant differences were noted for some communication measures in the transfeminine group but not the transmasculine nor gender diverse groups. The predictive value of alignment between comparative and obtained values on comfort and misgendering was greater for communication features than others. Communication comfort ratings across settings were highly correlated, as were estimates of misgendering frequency. Communication comfort and misgendering frequency were not correlated within a setting.

Conclusions: These findings provide preliminary gender-specific normative data for communication in TGD speakers. Further, they offer preliminary guidance regarding potential therapeutic targets that are more likely to impact TGD speakers’ communicative comfort and likelihood of being misgendered and suggest that the former does not depend on the latter.

Advisor: Angela Dietsch