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Queer and Trans Youth and the Transformative Power of the Arts

By Sojn Boothroyd

“Making art is the place I felt most connected to myself and to the mystery of creation. I felt powerful, like a superhero—like no one could touch me or hurt me in any way.”—Jayden

Jayden was a participant in Queer Teen Identity Formation and the Arts, a qualitative research study I conducted as a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2009. Eight individuals living in different geographical locations who engaged in the arts as teens and identified as trans, queer, pansexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning participated in the study. During the interviews, they talked about their experience identifying as queer and trans teens, what that entailed, and how engaging in the arts affected their lives at that time. The participants responded in writing to an email questionnaire and chose pseudonyms, used here, to keep their names confidential for the study.

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