Identity and self-understanding among transgender women in Norway

  • Vigdis Moen NTNU, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Public Health and Nursing
  • Ingvild Aune NTNU, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Public Health and Nursing Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Keywords: gender identity, self understanding, belonging, coming out, significance of surroundings, environment


Aim: The aim of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of and more knowledge about the experience of transgender women in terms of identity and self-understanding.

Method: Data are collected from six Norwegian adult transgender women who have told their life stories. A narrative analysis is used to analyse the stories of the participants. The narrative focus is on themes relating to identity, self-understanding and belonging.

Results: The results of the study show that the participants exclusively have a female identity and sense of belonging. Despite this, two of the participants prefer to live as males out of consideration for those in their surroundings. The self-understanding of the informants is expressed in different ways, depending on personality and life experience.

Conclusion: Whether or not one has ‘come out of the closet’ seems to be important for both identity and self-understanding. The participants who are open about their identity seem more secure than those who are not. The more acceptance and recognition they get from the social environment, the more it appears that the women in this study dare to be who they are.


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How to Cite
Moen, V., & Aune, I. (2018). Identity and self-understanding among transgender women in Norway. Nordic Journal of Social Research, 9, 68-88.