Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Science


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Bauer, Greta R.


Research Objective: This thesis employs a descriptive quantitative intersectional lens to examine lifetime intimate partner violence (IPV) and past-year trans-specific abuse among transgender and non-binary (TGNB) people in Canada.

Methods: We draw on data from the 2019 Trans PULSE Canada survey, which employed a multi-mode convenience sampling strategy. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the prevalence of lifetime IPV and past-year trans-specific partner abuse. Conditional Inference Tree (CTree) was used as an exploratory approach to identify intersectional subgroups with varying prevalence of the outcomes. We examined the psychometric properties of the trans-specific abuse scale prior to analysis.

Results: Sex work was the strongest predictor of lifetime IPV and past-year trans-specific abuse. Intersectional subgroups with a history of sex work had a higher prevalence of lifetime IPV and past-year trans-specific abuse in the CTree.

Conclusion: Further research should contextualize IPV in TGNB populations within structural inequities, especially for high-risk intersectional groups.

Summary for Lay Audience

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) refers to behaviors or actions by a current or former intimate partner that causes physical, sexual, or psychological harm. Research shows that transgender and non-binary (TGNB) individuals (i.e., people whose gender identity differs from sex given at birth) are more likely to experience IPV than cisgender people (i.e., individuals whose gender identity matches sex given at birth).

To understand IPV in TGNB populations, it is important to consider how different systems of power, privilege, and oppression, such as racism and transphobia, can disadvantage victims and shape abusive behaviors used by partners. Particularly, societal transphobia that discriminates against TGNB people and denies their gender identity makes it easier for abusers to use that for power and control against TGNB partners. This results in unique experiences of IPV, referred to as trans-specific abuse. For example, abusers may threaten to reveal their partners’ gender identity to others, restrict the way a TGNB person expresses their gender, or control access to medical treatments that help TGNB individuals feel more comfortable with their gender identity (e.g., hormones). It is important to consider these unique forms of IPV that TGNB people experience.

Most studies on IPV in TGNB populations have looked at one aspect of their identity, like gender or race. Intersectionality allows us to consider how systems of oppression (e.g., transphobia, racism) related to multiple social categories (e.g., race by gender) can intersect to shape the experience of IPV. Particularly, these intersecting systems of oppression create power imbalances that abusers can use to control TGNB partners.

Using an intersectional approach, this thesis used data from the 2019 Trans PULSE Canada study to look at lifetime IPV and past-year trans-specific abuse. We used a new quantitative intersectional method to identify specific intersectional groups who are more likely to have experienced IPV. We found that sex work was most strongly associated with IPV and trans-specific abuse. Intersectional subgroups that have a history of sex work had higher rates of IPV and trans-specific abuse. Our research shows the need to better understand how social power dynamics influence IPV in TGNB populations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024

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