Coping with being tolerated: Trans experiences

Sara Cvetkovska, Rusi Jaspal, Maykel Verkuyten, Levi Adelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tolerance is mainly presented as an improvement on discrimination, but research shows that it also can have a negative psychological impact on some minorities. Yet, there is no research into the meanings that minority individuals and trans people in particular append to tolerance. Whether being tolerated is experienced as helpful or hurtful would be an important consideration for public policies promoting tolerance. We interviewed 13 trans and nonbinary people in The Netherlands, investigating subjective interpretations of being tolerated, the identity threats posed by tolerance, and how targets coped with these. We identified three main themes using thematic analysis: (a) tolerance as perpetuating inequality; (b) tolerators’ misunderstandings of trans identity and experience; and (c) dilemmas of coping with being tolerated. Most respondents saw tolerance as a negative experience and found it rare to be recognized as their authentic selves while being tolerated. Progress beyond tolerance was considered necessary for trans liberation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the insightful questions and comments from our colleagues at ERCOMER and the research participants. This contribution was supported by a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (Grant agreement 740788). The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. American Psychological Association


  • Coping
  • Identity
  • Tolerance
  • Trans


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