“I never wanted her to feel shame”: parent reflections on supporting a transgender child

Horton, Cal. 2023. “I never wanted her to feel shame”: parent reflections on supporting a transgender child. Journal of LGBT Youth, 20(2), pp. 231-247. ISSN 1936-1653 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Growing numbers of trans children are being supported by their families in childhood, including support for a pre-pubertal social transition. Existing literature provides limited insights into how parents reflect upon and evaluate their experience of supporting a trans child’s social transition. This article draws upon qualitative semi-structured interviews with thirty parents who had supported thirty trans children to socially transition at an average age of seven years old. Data were analyzed through inductive thematic analysis, with five themes presented. 1) loss of control, and loss of security 2) feeling support for social transition was their only viable option 3) evaluating affirmation 4) the risks of transition, and the risks of rejection 5) and advice for other families to support their child. Overall, parents evaluated the benefits of social transition, describing it as protective for their child’s happiness and well-being. These experience-based parental insights on the positive outcomes of pre-pubertal social transition, hold relevance for institutional policy and practice toward pre-pubertal social transition, with implications for health services, courts, schools and social services.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



Parents; children; transgender; affirmation; well-being

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


21 January 2022Accepted
9 February 2022Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

11 Feb 2022 09:57

Last Modified:

17 Apr 2023 12:22

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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