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To Carve Out Space: Transgender Visitors’ Experiences in Museums

Research Thesis by Johanna Berliner

Although museums have recently moved in the direction of increasing diversity, equity, access, and inclusion (DEAI) in their initiatives, these efforts have not yet significantly focused on transgender audiences, which face disproportionate and unique discrimination in public life. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand transgender visitors’ experiences of inclusion and exclusion in museums. Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 20 participants identifying as transgender or non-cisgender who visited a local museum as part of the study. Results showed that experiences of inclusion and exclusion were related to exhibit content, interactions with staff, and access to restrooms. The data also indicated that transgender visitors’ experiences of inclusion and exclusion were influenced by the intersections of other aspects of their identities, and their perceptions of how other underrepresented groups experienced the museum. This research has implications for practice in curation and interpretation, staff training, facility planning, and community engagement.


Berliner, J. (2020). To carve out space: Transgender visitors’ experiences in museums (Order No. 28001080). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ University of Washington WCLP; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2437468462). Retrieved from


Diversity, Equity, Access, Inclusion, Transgender, LGBTQ, Minority groups, Museum visitors, Museums