The Needs of Gender-Variant Children and Their Parents According to Health Professionals

Another article outlining that more supportive, nurturing, and affirming perspectives on a youth’s self-reported gender identity are needed to support both the youth and their parents.


Published in: International Journal of Transgenderism.  March 4, 2013.  Authors: Elizabeth Anne Riley, Gomathi Sitharthan, Lindy Clemson & Milton Diamond

“The issues that gender-variant children face highlight consistent deficits and negativity in the children’s lives and focus our attention to the extraordinary burden placed on gender-variant children in their formative years. A report by Grant et al. (2010) describes in detail the extraordinary levels of harassment, physical assault, and sexual violence experienced by transgender children in years during primary and high school. These issues, if unable to be alleviated, are likely to present ongoing and accumulative difficulties that then impact their lives as adults.”

“… The needs of parents overwhelmingly feature the various types of support that would help parents become informed, be able to cope, and make the best decisions for their child. Societal and community support appear to be crucial factors for parents to comfortably engage with the tasks required of them to support their child.”

“… The needs of gender-variant children identified from the professionals’ responses revealed a lack of respect for the rights of children who experience gender variance. The most frequently mentioned needs were to be accepted and supported; to be heard, respected, and loved; to have professional support and recognition; to be allowed to express their gender; to feel safe and protected; to live a normal life; to have peer contact; to have school support and; to have access to puberty-delaying hormones. The needs of the parents focused primarily on areas of support and professional assistance, namely, the need for emotional support and guidance; education and information; support from society, local community, friends, and family; competent knowledgeable professionals; diagnosis, treatment, and beneficial outcomes for their children; peer support; support, understanding, and acceptance from schools; and research.”

“Together, these findings call for education programs to provide knowledge and exposure to the issues that transgender people face, across such sectors as medicine, mental health, and teaching in schools. The targeted education of medical and counseling professionals, the inclusion of printed materials in doctors’ surgeries, and the distribution of best practice guidelines and training in schools would signal a major change across the professional and community sectors that the needs of transgender children are being taken seriously.”