Purple in a Black and White World: Self-Determination Theory and Transgender Military Service

Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 11, 359-369

11 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2012 Last revised: 6 Jun 2015

See all articles by David A. Levy

David A. Levy

U.S. Air Force Academy - Department of Management

James E. Parco

Colorado College

Sarah Spears

Colorado College

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

We offer a theoretical framework to advance our understanding of the psychology of transgender service members—the most understudied and mysterious class of US military personnel. Using grounded theory methods with interview data collected from clandestinely-serving active-duty, guard and reserve military members from the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps who self-identified as transgender or transsexual, we reveal a latent structure of Self Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Deci & Ryan, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2000). The variance in our data heavily centers around the concepts of autonomy, competence and relatedness, illustrating how post-DADT military personnel policy, which excludes open transgender service, impacts the mental well-being of transgender service members.

Keywords: transgender, transsexual, LGBT, interviews, self-determination, competence, relatedness, autonomy

JEL Classification: J16, M12

Suggested Citation

Levy, David A. and Parco, Jim and Spears, Sarah, Purple in a Black and White World: Self-Determination Theory and Transgender Military Service (2015). Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 11, 359-369. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2169676 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2169676

David A. Levy

U.S. Air Force Academy - Department of Management ( email )

2354 Fairchild Drive
Suite 6H-94
Academy, CO 80840-2944
United States
7193332328 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.thinkingdeeplyabout.org

Jim Parco (Contact Author)

Colorado College ( email )

Department of Economics and Business
14 E. Cache la Poudre St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
United States
719-389-6416 (Phone)
719-389-6927 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/dept/EC/parco.asp

Sarah Spears

Colorado College ( email )

14 E. Cache La Poudre St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
United States
719-389-6416 (Phone)

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