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Seeking participants for a gender research study

May 1, 2011

Survey link here.

“My name is Jay Ledbetter and I am a graduate student at San Francisco State University. I am working on my Master’s thesis in social psychology under the supervision of Professor Chuck Tate in the Department of Psychology. My thesis research tries to advance our understanding of gender identity by exploring the similarities and differences between people who have transgender spectrum identities (viz. transgender and genderqueer identities) and people who have cisgender identities (i.e., identify with their birth-assigned gender category).”

My advisor and I are painfully aware that most surveys in psychology are not inclusive of—or even recognizing of—trans spectrum identities because we ourselves have trans spectrum identities. Specifically, I am genderqueer and Professor Tate is a transgender woman (who is also genderqueer as butch-presenting). Thus, we do not see ourselves and our experiences represented very well in the status quo of psychology research. We are therefore personally as well as professionally motivated to change the way psychology studies transgender and genderqueer identities. Yet, we need your help to do this well. We need our voices to be heard.

The study below is a quantitative survey, meaning that you must answer a number of questions that require you to agree with statements on a number scale, rather than providing narrative descriptions of your experience as a transgender or genderqueer person. We know that some people do not believe that trans spectrum identities can be adequately captured by quantitative studies, and we respect this position. Nonetheless, consider this: Psychology is among the most privileged social sciences, especially in popular culture, and relies heavily on quantitative information as described above. Consequently, having your voice heard on the quantitative side helps everyone in the social sciences (and eventually popular culture) gain a better understanding of trans spectrum identities. If you routinely opt out of quantitative studies, this decreases the amount and kind of quantitative information we can see and report about—to other scientists and popular press writers. As we indicated above, since we are trans-identified ourselves, we have taken much time and effort to make sure that our quantitative approach is as inclusive as it can be for our identities. We need as many transgender and genderqueer voices as possible in this area to create change.

To be most effective in our research efforts, we want respondents at all levels of education, with varying sexual identities or orientations, and with different life experiences. Accordingly, please let friends, loved ones, and colleagues know about this study. Everyone who takes the survey must be 18 years old or older.

If you choose to participate, no identifying information or names will be collected. Thus, a participant’s name cannot be connected in any way to the responses he/she/ze provides; stated differently, responses are completely anonymous in this study. The research data will be kept in secure, password-protected computers in Professor Tate’s research lab. Only the researcher (Ledbetter), advisor (Tate), and trained research assistants will have access to the data.

There is a minimal risk of discomfort or anxiety due to the nature of the questions asked; however, the participant should answer only those questions he/she/ze chooses, and can stop participation in the research at any time.

By participating in this survey, you are helping researchers better understand the full range of gender identity experiences, and where the similarities in these experiences lie for trans-spectrum and cisgender identities. Additionally, you are helping change the way data are collected in social and personality psychology by having your voice be heard as a respondent. The more voices we hear through these responses, the more likely it is that other researchers take notice of this approach and become more inclusive in the quantitative study of gender identity in all social science fields. You will also have the opportunity to leave anonymous comments about our research approach, especially whether (and in what ways) it could be improved.

For the purposes of this study, the researcher asks that you or any respondent complete the study only one time. The total time commitment is approximately 20-40 minutes and the entire survey is completed online.

If you would like to participate, please click the following link:

If you have any further questions about the study, you may contact the researcher, Jay Ledbetter by email at or you may contact the researcher’s advisor, Professor Chuck Tate at or 415.338.2267.

Questions about your rights as a study participant, or comments or complaints about the study, may also be addressed to the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects at San Francisco State University, via phone at 415-338-1093 or via email at

Jay Ledbetter
SPAMS Lab Manager
Social Psychology Graduate Student
San Francisco State University

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