The Construal of Romantic Relationships in Transgendered People: a Personal Construct Approach
National Health Service (NHS) statistics show that 4000 people in the United Kingdom are receiving help for gender concerns (DH, 2008). Research has highlighted the importance of romantic relationships during early adulthood and an association with mental health (Fincham and Cui, 2011). The experience of romantic relationships among transgender people in ‘emerging adulthood’ (Arnett, 2000, 2006) is an under-researched area. The decision making process concerning, and construal of, romantic relationships among this group have yet to be investigated using Personal Construct Theory (PCT). This study uses qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry from PCT to investigate the experiences of transgender people encountering romantic relationships. Overarching themes emerging from the participants in this study were of identity validation through romantic relationships, having a bi-gendered lens of the world, facilitating greater understanding in society, and learning from past relationships. Participants’ experiences are analysed individually, as well as as a group. Clinical significance of this, limitations and future research are also discussed.