Brent Bilodeau’s Frame of Transgender Identity Development 

Brief Overview
About the Author
Printable Summary (PDF)

Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for test and papers.  We hope they’ll be of help to you too.

Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the Theory

Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the Theory:  Six Stages of Development

  • Pre-stage 1: An individual identifies with the dominant heterosexual culture and understands that is the approved identification
  • Stage 1: Identity Confusion – An individual is cognoscente homosexual feelings or thoughts, becomes curious and/or anxious
  • Stage 2: Identity Comparison – An individual accepts the feelings and thoughts as homosexual, begins to deal with the society, peer group, and family member’s reactions
  • Stage 3: Identity Tolerance – An individual surrounds themselves with others who identify as homosexuals and begin to form a peer group for support and knowledge
  • Stage 4: Identity Acceptance – An individual outwardly acknowledges his or her homosexual but internally struggles, looks for cues from social group to determine the proper way to present him or her self to the public
  • Stage 5: Identity Pride – An individual deepens themselves in homosexual culture, often minimizing heterosexual peers; feelings of anger and strong political advocacy for gay rights and a less heterosexist society
  • Stage 6: Identity Synthesis – An individual integrates their sexual identity as part of their holistic identity, assimilates into dominant culture with a secure and positive self-concept
Application of Theory to Practice

The Q’Nnections program at Princeton University approaches mentorship for the LGBT Community in a different way and seeks to create strong and lasting connections for students in this community who may not have that support system, or who may feel excluded from the
campus community. The program is one of the four initiatives sponsored by the LGBT Center. The goals and programming provided are listed below and are also available at:
Goals and Programming
● Create “families” at the beginning of each school year, which meet on a regular basis and foster relationship formation.
● Facilitate community building for LGBTQIA individuals across campus in order to create a network of support at all levels (undergraduate student, graduate student, postdoc, faculty, and staff).
● Host a social event every month, providing points of contact for families to have fellowship and discuss a particular topic of LGBTQ+ life.
● Promote informal family meetings with funding for family excursions.

Theory to Practice Connection
While not explicitly stated, this program appears based in theory, particularly Brent Bilodeau’s frame of transgender identity development. The third process in the frame states, “Developing a transgender social identity by creating a support network of people who know and accept that one is gender variant” (Patton, Renn, Guido, & Quaye, 2016, p. 191). While the communities and Q’Nnect groups may include students across the LGBT community, this program can greatly benefit trans* students by providing that support and “family” so they continually develop their trans* identity. Additionally, “Beemyn (2005) recommended educational programs for and about trans* students, to raise awareness and visibility; support services such as discussion groups in resource centers for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans* students…” (Patton et al., p. 193). As the programs continue and grow, there will be greater support for students with these
identities and their development around sexual and gender identity.

Submitted by Hayley Spencer

Annotations of Associated Literature
Additional Resources


“Gender and Gender Identity Development” – a Prezi by Kendall Willie

Submitted by Sam C. Ehrlich

This Prezi presentation outlines gender and gender identity development and applies it to student affairs in higher education.  While this presentation is fairly short, it covers a lot of ground.  To start, it gives a number of definitions for key terms in sexual and gender identity theory, including an outline of the differences between sex and gender.  The presentation next covers Lev’s Binary and Alternative Models, and includes the various stages and critiques of each theory.  The presentation then covers a few theories—the Bem Sex Role Inventory, Bem’s Gender Schema Theory, and Bilodeau’s Transgender Identity Development Theory—that were covered only briefly in the textbook, but are important to understanding gender and transgender theory.  Finally, the presentation presents some applications of these theories to higher education as well as a critique of the use of unified gender theory for college students.

While gender theory can be complex and is still very much under ongoing development, presentation is useful for understanding some of the more important theories of gender and gender identity development and their application to higher education.

This page was written and created by Ashlie Baty. Please use the comment section below to ask questions, provide reflection, discussion and/or feedback. To contact directly about this page, please see Ashlie Baty at