Post-Grant Reports


Identity, Orientation, and Relationships: How Fluidity in Self-Concept and Sexuality Translates into Relationships

Document Type


Publication Date



Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology | Social Psychology


Both popular media and social science research suggest that gender/sexual identities and roles that have dominated western society are being challenged (Budgeon, 2014). Heteronormative assumptions and the gender binary are rapidly evolving to capture experiences that reflect greater diversity (Diamond, 2005; Nagoshi et al., 2012), including those that extend beyond labels. How this increased flexibility affects people’s well being, however, is not yet understood. Participants were recruited from a range of sources (i.e., students, LGBTQ organizations, and social media targeting GSRMs). The majority (N=576; 63%) of participants identified as female with 200 (22%) identifying as male, 9 (1%) as transmen, 16 (2%) as transwomen, 85 (11%) as gender-queer, 18 (2%) as ‘unlabeled’ and 11 (1%) described their identity as “other” (e.g., agender). With regard to sexual orientation, 409 identified as heterosexual, 59 as bisexual, 76 as gay/lesbian, and 60 as “other” (asexual, pansexual). In general, ‘unlabeled’-gender participants reported lower overall life satisfaction compared to cisgendered, but were similar to other GSRMs on reported levels of minority stress. Explaining their ‘unlabeled’ status, participants described their primary identification as human, expressed discomfort with gender-based assumptions and rejected constrictions of the gender binary. All but one of the participants who reported an ‘unlabeled’ sexual orientation indicated that their birth sex was female and none identified as male. ‘Unlabeled’ participants reported lower overall and family life satisfaction than did straight participants. There were no differences in minority stress between ‘unlabeled’ and other GSRM participants.


This research was conducted as part of a Linfield College Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant in 2014, funded by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Student collaborators were Katricia Stewart and Sawyer Piwetz.

  Contact Author