Parental challenges, facilitators and needs associated with supporting and accepting their trans child’s gender
LGBTQ+ Family: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Taylor & Francis
School of Arts and Humanities
Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation “Healthway” [#33645] / Giorgetta Charity Fund (Y.P.) / National Health and Medical Research Council / Suicide Prevention Australia Post-Doctoral Fellowship (P.S.)
NHMRC Number : 1148793
Parental support is strongly correlated with protective factors for trans youth yet most experience parental rejection or ambivalence regarding their gender. Many parents report a desire to support their child but indicate lack of understanding and support as key barriers. We aimed to develop a nuanced understanding of the challenges and facilitators experienced by Australian parents in developing understanding, support and acceptance of their child’s gender and their needs to do so. Using data from semi-structured interviews (N = 30), the General Inductive Approach (GIA) was employed to explore primary themes within parental narratives. Participants described a range of complex emotions and exhausting mental burden as they simultaneously supported their child, searched for information, and navigated multiple systems (e.g., school, health). Good-quality information, seeing positive change in their child once affirmed and peer connections were powerful facilitators for increased support. There was strong thematic unity regarding their needs. Parents reported wanting an online ‘one-stop hub’ with evidence-based information and resources, and access to others’ lived experiences. Better understanding of the parental experience and what parents need to optimally support their child holds implications for the development of online interventions to promote parental understanding, support and acceptance of a child’s gender.