Transforming Family

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 has lost clinical support, transphobia persists in the false belief that a child would be harmed by a trans parent. This bias informs family planning policy and practice, family court proceedings, and in the types of research questions that are 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 LGBTQ Parenting Network at the Sherbourne Health Centre in collaboration with the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team.

In November 2010, four focus groups were held with a total of 18 trans parents in Toronto. This data informs the rest of the project. The data directly informed the final report. The report then showed the need for further work in the area of trans family law for trans women, leading to the Trans Family Law Project.

Project Outcomes

Baitz, Dana. (2014). Trans Family Law Project. Toronto: LGBTQ Parenting Network, Sherbourne Health Centre. Available on our website.

Pyne, J. (2012). Transforming Family: Trans Parents and their Struggles, Strategies, and Strengths. Toronto: LGBTQ Parenting Network, Sherbourne Health Centre. Available on our website.

Huberdeau, Rémy.  (Direct0r). (2012). Transforming FAMILY. [Video] Toronto: LGBTQ Parenting Network, Sherbourne Health Centre. Available on our website.

Pyne, J.  (2013). Complicating the truth of gender : Gender literacy and the possible worlds of trans parenting. In F. Green & M. Friedman (Eds.) Chasing rainbows: Exploring gender fluid parenting practices (pp. 127-144). Toronto: New Demeter Press.

Acknowledgments

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.

The Trans Family Law Project is a  Connecting Communities project, supported by CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario). The project was funded by a grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario.

Team Members

Jake Pyne, MSW

Rachel Epstein, PhD

Lori Ross, PhD

Dana Baitz, PhD

Rémy Huberdeau