Support experiences and attitudes of Australian parents of gender variant children

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    39 Citations (Scopus)


    Parents of gender variant children currently receive conflicting information concerning how to respond to their child’s gender variance. This conflict arises from divisions within the academic literature between what are referred to as either reparative or affirmative approaches to working with gender variant children. The current paper reports on a scoping study designed to understand the support experiences of Australian parents of gender variant children, together with their attitudes towards gender variance. The study was mixed methods in design, including both quantitative and qualitative information gained from 61 parents of gender variant children. The major findings of the project indicate that a formal diagnosis of gender variance appears to facilitate support towards gender variant children and their parents. The study also found conflicting experiences of contact with healthcare professionals, with some participants reporting positive and supportive experiences and others reporting negative interactions with professionals. Finally, the study found that there were gender differences in relation to parental responses, namely that fathers were less supportive of their child’s gender variance. As such, the paper indicates room for improvement in relation to healthcare professionals working with gender variant children and their families, together with insight into the experiences of parents for this group of young people.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1999-2007
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2015


    • Children
    • Families
    • Gender dysphoria
    • Gender variance
    • Healthcare professionals


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