Document Type



Journal of Occupational Science

Publication Date





Occupational Therapy


Understanding the effect of the environment is fundamental to grasping the occupational experiences of nonbinary individuals. Current research in occupational science addresses the occupations of the transgender population but often fails to distinguish between the binary and nonbinary experience. There is an absence of occupational science research that solely focuses on the nonbinary experience. This study focuses on nonbinary individuals and aims to illuminate the environmental factors that support or hinder occupational engagement for nonbinary individuals. Using a descriptive qualitative research design, we conducted two interviews per participant and photo-elicitation. Data analysis resulted in three themes: binary environments and safe spaces, navigating binary spaces through doing gender and avoiding unsafe spaces, and undoing gender through occupation. These themes capture the experience of occupations within the environment for nonbinary people involved doing, being, and becoming nonbinary gender. Each of these responses depended on how safe and welcoming the environment was perceived to be. Our findings illuminate that the process of doing nonbinary gender is a reciprocal relationship between the person, their occupations, and the environment, and support the complex nature of occupation for diverse populations that fall outside the dominant binary culture.

Publisher Statement

“This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Occupational Science on September 2, 2020, available online:”