Theses and Dissertations


Sarah Rogers

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rader, Nicole E.

Committee Member

Kelly, Kimberly C.

Committee Member

Leap, Branden T.

Committee Member

Sutton, Tara E.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 2 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


This dissertation examines the lives of trans men and their experiences with pathways to or avoidance of the criminal justice system. I used feminist criminological theory, specifically feminist pathways theory, as well as queer criminological theory, and intersectionality to explore these men’s experiences with child abuse, sexual victimization, homelessness, the presence of support systems, and coping strategies. Through the use of 27 semi-structured, in-depth phone interviews with trans men across the United States, I find common experiences among those who have been incarcerated (15) and those who have not (12). Regarding trans men’s pathways to offending, I find similar victimization and homelessness experiences among the fifteen men in the previously incarcerated group. Additionally, I find that the fifteen men who were previously incarcerated continue to face victimization, discrimination, and prejudice in the criminal justice system and upon their reentry to society. Victimization and discrimination in all four stages of the criminal justice system—arrest, sentencing, incarceration, and reentry—are all discussed in detail. Though many of the trans men in this study who have not been incarcerated faced similar victimization experiences to the previously incarcerated group, I find that the availability of social support and positive relationships, as well as positive coping mechanisms moderate the relationship between victimization and involvement in the criminal justice system. Furthermore, racial bias against transgender offenders in the criminal justice system is well-documented among cisgender offenders, specifically Black males. This dissertation too finds possible racial bias toward the Black and Hispanic trans men in the study. Race and ethnicity could also influence the access to resources and social support necessary to avoid arrest. Importantly, this dissertation extends the use of feminist pathways theory to populations other than girls and women and establishes the importance of intersectionality to criminological studies. Overall, this dissertation also demonstrates the need for more social support and resources for trans men, especially for trans men of color and those who have experienced common pathways to the criminal justice system.