No Difference in Health Outcomes for Transgender and Cisgender Parents

Author: The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law
Published: Monday 5th October 2020
Summary: The first nationally representative sample of transgender people in the U.S. finds no difference in mental and physical health between transgender and cisgender parents.


The first nationally representative sample of transgender people in the U.S. finds no difference in mental and physical health between transgender and cisgender parents.

An estimated 19% of transgender adults in the U.S. are parents, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. The majority of transgender parents are women (53%), while approximately one-third are non-binary (36%) and one-tenth (12%) are transgender men.

Using data from the U.S. Transgender Population Health Survey (TransPop), the first national probability sample of transgender people in the U.S., researchers examined the quality of life and mental and physical health of transgender and cisgender parents.

While researchers found that transgender people overall experience more psychological distress and are less happy and satisfied with their lives than cisgender people, there were no differences in health outcomes between transgender and cisgender parents.

"It is possible that the positive experiences of parenthood may counteract some of the negative effects of stigmatization," said study author Jody Herman, a scholar of public policy at the Williams Institute.

Key Findings

"Transgender parents often face substantial challenges becoming parents or establishing legal recognition as parents," said lead author Nicola Carone, Assistant Professor at the University of Pavia. "These findings indicate that family practitioners and policymakers should not assume that problems reported by transgender parents are at all related to their ability to parent. They are more likely the result of pervasive stigma and discrimination against transgender people."


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