Deferral: The Sociology of Young Trans People’s Epiphanies and Coming Out

Kennedy, Natacha. 2022. Deferral: The Sociology of Young Trans People’s Epiphanies and Coming Out. Journal of LGBT Youth, 19(1), pp. 53-75. ISSN 1936-1653 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper presents data characterizing young trans people’s experience during the period prior to coming out to parents as transgender. By analyzing data obtained directly from young trans and non-binary people it produces a sociological characterization of this period overall as the ‘Deferral’ period. The Deferral Period is further characterized as consisting of two parts; a ‘Tacit Deferral’ period, prior to epiphany as trans, and subsequent ‘Discursive Deferral’ period. The data indicate that both these deferral periods vary in length quite considerably but usually seem to be measurable in months and years. In particular these data contest the validity of concept of ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria’ and the way young trans people are positioned by ‘passive victim’ narratives in many academic and media accounts. The analysis of the different ways young trans people construct their identities, prior to and after epiphany produces a ‘Timeline of Revelation’. The data suggest many commonalities of experience among young trans people, and well as some differences and in particular the data exemplify how, young trans and non-binary people’s own agency is key in negotiating barriers to transition.

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Additional Information:

“This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of LGBT Youth, available online:”


Deferral, trans youth, ROGD, agency, sociology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


24 August 2020Accepted
10 September 2020Published Online

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Date Deposited:

27 Aug 2020 12:13

Last Modified:

28 Apr 2022 17:06

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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