What do you do when your child announces that they are trans, tells you they were “born in the wrong body” or says they have a new gender identity and want to change their name and pronouns?
What action can you take when you find out that your child’s school is encouraging a child to use the toilets or changing rooms for the opposite sex?
Here are some starting points for parents looking for support, advice and information (mainly focused on the UK) about how to help gender-questioning, gender-distressed and trans-identifying children.
Teenagers and gender identity: the evidence base
Part 1: Why might teenagers question their gender? (by Matilda Gosling and Stella O’Malley)
Part 2: Treatment and outcomes plus technical paper: Gender-questioning teenagers: puberty blockers and hormone treatment vs placebo (by Matilda Gosling)
Part 3: How parents can support their children (by Matilda Gosling)
Support for parents
Bayswater Support Group offers parents whose children have a transgender identity somewhere to talk, share and be understood. Read its Top Ten Tips for when your child says they are trans, and its Safeguarding considerations for trans-identified pupils in schools.
Our Duty is an international support network for parents who wish to protect their children from gender ideology.
Gender Dysphoria Support Network is an international group that aims to offer emotional understanding and support to families of individuals affected by gender dysphoria, by meeting regularly in small groups and by providing information, understanding and encouragement.
Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT) is a space for parents that have been impacted by gender ideology to share their uncensored stories, experiences, and thoughts.
4thWaveNow is a supportive place for those concerned about medical transition of minors and young adults (US website).
Advice from therapists
When kids say they’re trans – a guide for thoughtful parents by Stella O’Malley, Sasha Ayad, Lisa Marchiano: a book for parents who want their children to flourish, but do not believe that hasty medicalisation is the best way to ensure long-term health and well-being.
Brief Guidance for Parents (Stella O’Malley, Genspect)
New Guidance for Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (Lisa Marchiano)
Parenting a Young Adult with ROGD video (Sasha Ayad)
Gaslighting the Concerned Parents of Trans Children – A Psychotherapist’s View (Stella O’Malley, Quillette – you need to subscribe but it’s free)
Support at Home and Beyond: Finding the Right Therapist for Your Trans-Identified Teen (Sasha Ayad, Inspired Teen Therapy)
Teenagers and gender identity – the evidence base, part 3: How parents can support their children (Matilda Gosling, Sex Matters, 2023, with input from psychotherapists Lisa Marchiano, Marcus Evans, Sasha Ayad, Stella O’Malley and Susan Evans; support groups Our Duty, Gender Dysphoria Support Network and Bayswater Support Group; social theorist Dr Heather Brunskell-Evans and Transgender Trend’s Stephanie Davies-Arai).
Webinar on teenagers and gender distress: what parents need to know. Helen Joyce talks with researcher Matilda Gosling and psychotherapist Stella O’Malley. (Sex Matters, 2023):
Guidance for schools
Guidance for maintained schools and academies in England on provision for transgender pupils – Helpful guidance for school leaders published by the Association of School and College Leaders, Chartered College of Teaching, Confederation of School Trusts (CST), Institute of School Business Leadership, National Association of Head Teachers and National Governance Association (you can read our review of it).
Safe Schools Alliance – a grassroots organisation which campaigns to uphold child safeguarding in schools, representing parents, grandparents, teachers, governors, and health professionals: factsheets, guides and template letters to schools.
Transgender Trend – an organisation of UK parents, professionals and academics concerned about the current trend to diagnose children as transgender: information and resources – read their publications.
Sex and gender identity: keep your pupils safe and comply with the law – guidance for schools in England – our guidance, produced with Transgender Trend.
Social transition cannot be lawfully accommodated in schools – our summary, in a table.
Sex and gender in schools: what government guidance needs to say – we analyse what the Department for Education’s guidance should say, and set out ten principles against which it should be judged.
Safeguarding trans-identified children and adolescents – safeguarding considerations for trans-identified pupils in schools (Bayswater Group)
Background reading and listening
Teenagers and gender identity – the evidence base, part 1: Why might teenagers question their gender? (Matilda Gosling and Stella O’Malley, Sex Matters, 2022)
Teenagers and gender identity – the evidence base, part 2: Treatment and outcomes (Matilda Gosling, Sex Matters, 2022) and the related technical paper, Gender-questioning teenagers: puberty blockers and hormone treatment vs placebo (Matilda Gosling, Sex Matters, 2022).
Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports (Lisa Littman, PloS One, 13(8), 2018)
Correction: Parent reports of adolescents and young adults perceived to show signs of a rapid onset of gender dysphoria (Lisa Littman, PloS One, 14(3), 2019)
Interim report of the Cass Review – an independent review of the NHS’s gender-identity services for children and young people
Irreversible damage: The transgender craze seducing our daughters (Abigail Shrier, Swift Press, 2020)
Inventing transgender children and young people (Heather Brunskell-Evans & Michele Moore, editors, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019)
Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality (Helen Joyce, Oneworld Publishing, 2021)
Suggested reading list on gender ideology and online articles and interviews (Thoughtful Therapists)
Gender: a wider lens – podcast (currently with 90 episodes) in which two therapists explore the expanding concept of “gender” from a psychological perspective
Webinar on child gender medicine and the poor quality of the research it is based on: Helen Joyce talks with sociologist Michael Biggs and social-science researcher Matilda Gosling (Sex Matters, 2023):