Researching for LGBTQ Health

Transforming Family: Trans Voices on Parenting

When North American transgender and transsexual (trans) people began to seek medical assistance to transition in the 1960’s, the accepted practice in newly formed gender identity clinics was to advise them to cut ties with their established lives. Those who were already parents at the time of transition were advised to terminate relationships with their children under the assumption that their children would be better off without them. While this practice is no longer endorsed, the notion that a child would be harmed by a trans parent lingers in family planning policy and practice, in biased family court rulings, and in the types of research questions that get asked (and not asked) in relation to trans parents and their children.

In 2010, the Transforming Family project was launched to respond to these concerns, filling an important gap in knowledge by documenting the impact of transphobia on trans parents and drawing attention to the strengths that they bring to parenting. The project was led by the LGBTQ2S+ Parenting Network at the Sherbourne Health Centre in collaboration with the Re:searching for LGBTQ2S+ Health team.

In November 2010, four focus groups were held with a total of 18 trans parents in Toronto.

In addition, a number of smaller projects have grown from this study including: a case study exploring trans women's exclusion from Motherhood; a provincial family law education project for trans parents (through the LGBTQ2S+ Parenting Network); and a completed short film as well as a full-hour documentary currently in production.


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Gender Social Inequities

Financial support was provided by the Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health at Simon Fraser University and the Community One Foundation.

Project Outcomes: