Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Michael S. Hevel

Committee Member

Leslie Jo Shelton

Second Committee Member

Ketevan Mamiseishvili


College Students, Higher Education, Nonbinary, Queer


As the number of young people identifying as nonbinary continues to increase (Davis, 2018), our need, as educators, to understand their experiences on college campuses also increases. Using narrative inquiry and photovoice, framed by critical queer theory and genderism, this examined both institutionalized and socially constructed expectations and influences that affect the development of nonbinary gender expression and identity for the college students by addressing the research question: What are the experiences of nonbinary college students in the Southern United States in exploring their gender expression at research universities? The five major themes that emerged from this study were as follows: symbiotic relationship between identity and expression, queer community and kinship, written and unwritten dress codes, campus as contradictory, and the interconnectedness of gender expression with other salient identities. This study offers avenues for higher education and student affairs educators to better support and affirm the experiences of nonbinary college students.