Substantial Number of Transgender People Report Positive Parenting Experiences

Author: The Williams Institute
Published: Saturday 15th November 2014 - Updated: Tuesday 28th February 2017
Summary: Report shows substantial numbers of transgender people are parents, though at rates that appear lower than the U.S. general population.


The authors of this report reviewed 51 studies that analyze data about transgender parents. This report reviews the existing research on the prevalence and characteristics of transgender people who are parents, the quality of relationships between transgender parents and their children, outcomes for children with a transgender parent, and the reported needs of transgender parents. Overall, the authors found that substantial numbers of transgender people are parents, though at rates below the U.S. general population. The vast majority of transgender parents report that their relationships with their children are good or positive, including after "coming out" as transgender or transitioning. Based on their review, the authors recommend further research on the many facets of transgender parents' lives, including research on the impact of discrimination on transgender parents and their families. Increased data collection and research will lead to a fuller understanding of the experiences and needs of transgender parents and their children.

Most studies reviewed in this report find that between one quarter and one half of transgender study participants are parents. Parenting percentages for adult males and adult females in the general population are at 65 and 74 percent, respectively. The vast majority of transgender parents report that their relationships with their children are good or positive, including after "coming out" as transgender or transitioning. The study is co-authored by Rebecca L. Stotzer, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Hawai'i; Jody L. Herman, Williams Institute Manager of Transgender Research and Peter J. Cooper Public Policy Fellow; and Amira Hasenbush, Jim Kepner Law and Policy Fellow.

"While transgender parents and their children may face unique challenges and discrimination, research shows that transgender parent-child relationships and child development appear to be similar to that of any other family," said Stotzer.

The study reviewed 51 existing reports on the prevalence and characteristics of transgender people who are parents, the quality of relationships between transgender parents and their children, outcomes for children with a transgender parent, and the reported needs of transgender parents. Notably, the report finds there is no evidence that children of transgender parents are different from other children in regard to gender identity or sexual orientation development and no evidence of any differences in other developmental milestones.

Other key findings include:

"This is rapidly growing area of research," Herman said. "In particular, we need more research to better understand the impact of discrimination on transgender parents and their families."

The study authors also recommend that federal agencies and administrators of national population-based surveys include questions to identify transgender respondents on surveys, such as the American Community Survey (ACS) and the National Survey on Family Growth (NSFG). The ability to identify transgender people in national, population-based surveys will help create national benchmarks for certain aspects of transgender parenting.

FullReport: https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/transgender-parenting-oct-2014.pdf


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