The family and romantic relationships of trans and gender diverse Australians: an exploratory survey

Damien Riggs, Henry von Doussa, Jennifer Power

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    The present paper contributes an Australian focus to the growing body of research on trans and gender diverse people's family and romantic relationships. A survey designed by the authors was completed by 160 trans or gender diverse Australians. A negative correlation was found between discrimination from families of origin and perceptions of support, and conversely a positive correlation was found between perceptions of support and emotional closeness. Analysis of open-ended responses suggested that support was primarily constituted by (1) emotional support, (2) utilising correct pronouns and names, and (3) financial support. Discrimination by families of origin was primarily constituted by (1) refusal to use correct pronouns and names, (2) exclusion from family events, and (3) pathologising responses. The findings in regard to romantic relationships suggest that trans women were more likely than trans men or gender diverse people to experience challenges in negotiating romantic relationships. A negative correlation was found between difficulties in negotiating romantic relationships and belief in the likelihood that an “ideal” romantic relationship would occur in the future. Difficulties in negotiating romantic relationships were primarily described in terms of (1) anxiety over potential responses, (2) discrimination from potential partners, and (3) lack of self-acceptance. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for clinical practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)243-255
    Number of pages13
    JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • discrimination
    • families of origin
    • gender diverse
    • romantic relationships
    • support
    • trans


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