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The Nuts and Bolts

What does being transgender mean?


Transgender (trans) describes people whose internal sense of identity differs from that assigned (or presumed) at birth. ‘Trans’ can also be used more broadly as an umbrella term for a range of gender identities such as gender diverse, non-binary, genderqueer, Sistergirl or Brotherboy, genderfluid, gender non-conforming, and more.  We mainly use the terms gender diverse and trans throughout this website to encompass anyone who describes themselves as transgender, gender diverse or gender non-conforming amongst other terms. Not everyone who is gender diverse or trans will want to have a ‘trans’ identity, but may just want to live by the gender they identify with (e.g. a boy or girl). Some (but not all) children and young people may experience gender dysphoria. This is the distress or discomfort a person experiences due to a mismatch between their gender identity (their personal sense of their own gender) and their sex assigned at birth.

Click here for a full glossary of terms.

Click here for more information about gender dysphoria.

Why is my child questioning their gender?


It is normal for parents to be wondering why their child is questioning their gender identity. Is it a phase? Are they rebelling? Have they been influenced by the media or their friends? Ultimately, evidence suggests that genetics are implicated as well as hormonal exposure in the foetal environment. It is good to know that gender diversity is not a new concept; identifying as trans or gender diverse has always existed across history and cultures, whether it was socially acceptable at the time or not. Identifying as gender diverse is not uncommon – one recent study by the Black Dog Institute found that 3.2% of Year 8 students in Australia identify as gender diverse. Gender diversity is now widely recognised by medical and psychology professionals as a natural part of human variation. With the societal misunderstanding, harassment and discrimination that many gender diverse people experience day to day, it’s good to remember that most people would not be on this journey if they didn’t feel their gender identity is a core part of who they are and is vital to their health and wellbeing.

Click here for the Black Dog Institute Future-Proofing Study (2022).

My child has just told me they are gender diverse or questioning their gender – what do I do now?


Coming to you about their gender identity is probably the scariest (and bravest!) thing your child has ever done.

Many older children and young people fear this news might change how their family sees them and worry it might risk the relationship.

Some parents of gender diverse children are supportive from the start. Some parents report feeling a sense of relief and understanding, especially if their child has been struggling with gender dysphoria symptoms such as depression, anxiety or being withdrawn, without a clear cause.

Some parents may understandably need time to adjust while others still may struggle, deny, disbelieve their child or ignore it, hoping it will pass. It may not sit comfortably with their beliefs, values, or hopes and dreams for their child. This news can be shocking, or make some parents feel angry, ashamed or disappointed in their child. Wherever a parent is on their journey, it might take some time to work through their feelings, and that’s okay.

The evidence very strongly shows that feeling rejected or unsupported by family significantly increases a child’s risk of poor mental health, suicidality and homelessness. No matter how you feel in the moment, the most important thing is that your child knows you love them. Some tips for responding when your child tells you they are questioning their gender are:

From the beginning:

  • It’s essential to show your support and acknowledge just how scary it might have been for them to open up to you. It could be helpful to thank them for sharing it with you and tell them how much you love them by saying “I love you and I am here for you”.
  • Listen, even if you feel uncomfortable. It can be hard to hear but it’s also hard for them to tell you.
  • If you have strong negative feelings, let them know you just need some time to let it sink in and agree to talk later when you are ready. As soon as you can, let them know you are ready and listen as calmly and openly as possible.
  • It’s helpful to check who else knows so that you don’t inadvertently ‘out’ them to others. Be led by them on who they want to tell.
  • In the beginning, it’s better not to ask too many questions, especially personal or invasive ones about their plans or deepest feelings about their gender identity. Be guided by them on what they want to share and don’t press for information if it’s not being offered right now. These conversations can come later.
  • Go at their pace. You can ask if there are particular pronouns or a different name they’d like you to use. They might not know yet, in which case you can show support by telling them they can let you know in the future if they want to make changes.
  • Keep doing the things you like doing together – they are still the same child you have always loved. As much as this news may feel like it’s taking over everything, their gender is just one part of them.

As you start to navigate this journey together:

  • Be kind to yourself. This topic doesn’t get covered in the parenting manual when you start a family! You are having to learn quickly in a world where fears and misinformation about trans people are rife.
  • Learn from reliable sources and get support from people who understand what you are going through. Peer support groups can be a useful way to connect with other parents of gender diverse children. Head to our Peer Support for Parents page for information on groups you can connect with. Many also have their own online support forums where you can ask other parents for support and advice.
  • A GP is a vital source of ongoing support and information and finding one who can provide non-judgmental and informed care can be very useful for both you and your child.
  • Ask questions and be honest if there are things you don’t understand. Your child may be happy to be your teacher and direct you to information, or they may prefer for you to do your own research.
  • If you have concerns, go to reliable sources of information to find answers rather than talking to your child about them.
  • Share any anxieties, fears and/or concerns with a trustworthy friend, family member or counsellor – your child can’t be expected to help you deal with your struggles about their gender identity.
  • Let them know they can talk to you at any time. If having conversations together is difficult, you may be able to help guide them to a trusted relative or friend who they can talk to.

What else might I need to think about going forward?

  • This can be a challenging journey for many children and young people – developing their self-worth can be a big protective factor in the face of adversity. You can help by acknowledging their bravery, supporting them to feel comfortable and positive about their identity, encourage respect for themselves and others, help them to make safe choices (e.g. who they choose to tell about their gender identity) and encourage them to keep doing, or start, the activities they are interested in.
  • If they want your help telling others (family, friends, teachers etc) about their pronouns or chosen name can help them to cope. We have resources to help these conversations happen.
  • Support their connections with peers who have similar experiences.
  • Check in regularly with what information they are accessing (especially online) and help them access reliable sources of information. Trans young people have often accessed a lot of information before talking to their parents and this includes misinformation and transphobic information.
  • Be their advocate and ally when they need you to speak out for them. This might be at school, at their sporting clubs or extracurricular activities, or at their place of worship. People will take their cue from you – if you present your child’s transition positively, then this encourages others to do the same.
  • Your child may want to access gender-affirming healthcare that helps them with their gender identity transition now or in the future. Even if this feels confronting it can be a good idea to get a referral to your nearest service so you can access this option if needed. Presently, resources and services for gender-affirming healthcare are limited, especially in regional areas, and you will probably need to work at getting your child’s name on waiting lists.

Click here for research regarding the impact of parental support on trans children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing outcomes.

Click here for resources on communicating with others.

Click here for services and groups that you can access support from.

Click here for resources on working with your child’s school or place of education.

Click here for other families’ stories.

Click here for resources on supporting your child’s mental health and wellbeing.

Click here for information on gender-affirming care providers.

Is this somehow my fault? Did I cause this?


No. Being gender diverse or trans is no one’s fault, it is something we are born with. Parents may wonder if how their child was raised had any influence on the formation of their child’s gender identity – however there’s no evidence for this. Scientists have in fact affirmed that variations in gender identity and expression are normal aspects of diversity, similar to variations such as 10% of people being left-handed. It’s really important to understand that as a parent, nothing you did ‘caused’ this, it is simply who your child is. What you are able to influence now is how safe and supported your child feels to explore their feelings and identity.

Has my child's gender diversity been caused by childhood trauma?


Research shows that gender diverse children and young people experience traumatic events such as violence and victimisation at higher rates than their cisgender (i.e., non-gender diverse) peers. These events often occur early in life as childhood abuse. The reasons for this association are complex and not well understood, and do not indicate that childhood abuse directly causes gender diversity. One US study by Thoma and colleagues (2021) investigated associations between self-reported childhood psychological, sexual, and physical abuse among 1836 gender diverse and cisgender young people aged 14 to 18 years, indicating greater prevalence of abuse in gender diverse young people. For example, the researchers found that young people in the study who were questioning their gender identity were more likely to experience higher rates of physical violence than any others in the study. This could be because gender-questioning young people may be the least likely to fit traditional gender stereotypes. Other researchers have previously found that cisgender young people who do not fit a gender stereotype are also at higher risk for experiencing depressive symptoms caused by childhood abuse (physical and emotional abuse both inside and outside of their home). Taken together, not fitting the social ‘norm’ for one’s biological sex, regardless of a child’s gender identity, appears to increase the risk of traumatic experiences such as being bullied or being emotionally and physically abused by adults in their life. It is important to keep in mind that Thoma and colleagues did not find that being gender diverse causes traumatic experiences or that trauma causes gender diversity; they simply found an association between being gender diverse and being more likely to experience trauma in childhood.
Given higher rates of childhood trauma for gender diverse children and young people, The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care for the Health of Transgender and Gender Diverse People, offer specific guidance for gender-affirming care providers. They state that mental health professionals conducting an assessment with gender diverse children and young people should collect information regarding traumatic experiences and include it in their assessment when considering any potential treatment plan.
In summary, while gender diverse young people do experience higher rates of childhood traumatic events, research has not found a causal link in either direction, and assessing the experience and impact of trauma is a routine part of assessment when young people seek gender-affirming care.

Click here for a commentary on the study by Thoma and colleagues.

Is this just a phase?


From an early age, children are working out who they are, and this includes exploring gender roles. This may involve playing with toys that don’t fit gender stereotypes (e.g. boys playing with dolls), or dressing in clothes that don’t fit gender norms. For most children, their sense of gender is the same as the sex assigned at birth, but for some, they may be experiencing gender dysphoria. Regardless of their gender exploration being a phase or gender dysphoria, the most important thing you can provide is a supportive environment. Support and communication about their sense of gender will not make them trans or gender diverse, it will simply provide the best environment for their optimal wellbeing. If your child has come to you to talk about gender, it is very likely that they need your support as they may be feeling quite afraid, overwhelmed, fearful, or they are struggling to cope. Regardless of whether these feelings persist, research strongly shows staying open and supportive is the best way to navigate your child questioning their gender.

Click here for research on the impact of parental support on trans children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing outcomes.

What if they change their mind?


We all want to others to see us as we see ourselves and to experience harmony in relation to our gender. This can be an ongoing process and helping a child find this harmony is essential to their mental health and wellbeing. Supporting your child to explore their gender socially (names, pronouns, hairstyles, clothing etc.) won’t make them gender diverse, but it will give them the opportunity to test out their sense of gender. The longer their gender identity persists, especially when a child is consciously considering it and consistently asserting it, the less likely it is to change. However, there is a possibility that your child will change their mind, which is 100% okay, and the best way to navigate this is by providing a loving and supportive environment. Regardless, engaging with experienced healthcare professionals can be an important source of guidance and support for you and your child.

One recent study followed 317 children identifying as trans to track how they identified over a 5 year period. After 5 years 94% continued to identify as trans, 2.5% had reverted to identifying as cisgender (i.e. feeling their gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth), and 3.5% had moved from identifying as a binary trans identity to identifying as non-binary. They also found it was more common (7.3%) for children to shift in their sense of gender identity over time rather than stop identifying as trans altogether.

My child is autistic – how do I navigate this alongside their gender diversity?


Research shows autistic people are more likely to be gender diverse than neurotypical people. Click here for more information and resources on neurodiversity and gender diversity.

I’ve heard about “rapid-onset gender dysphoria”, what is this?


Gender dysphoria is a recognised diagnosis that describes the distress and discomfort a person experiences due to a mismatch in their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth. The term “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” is not a recognised diagnosis and is not supported by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH). The term “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” was used in a 2018 academic journal article which suggested young people could be misled into identifying as trans due to being influenced by the internet, social media or their peers. The paper was based on parent reporting only, who were recruited with a heavy bias, and didn’t collect data from children, adolescents or clinicians. It has faced considerable criticism from academics and experts, with the journal even publishing a revised version less than a year later addressing the critiques of the study’s methodology, recruitment and conclusions.

Click here to read more about “the rapid-onset gender dysphoria” paper.

Why didn’t they tell me earlier?


Some of the complex emotions a parent might feel are hurt or guilt that they didn’t know sooner, especially if their child indicates they have had these feelings for a while. They may not have told you earlier because:

  • They needed the time to work it out for themselves first. Also, sometimes children and young people may have feelings of being somehow different but they don’t have the language to make sense of it or describe it to others.
  • They may be worried about hurting you, disappointing you, or upsetting the hopes and dreams you have for them.
  • They may have already experienced negative reactions from others. This may include being bullied by their peers, they may have seen bullying happen to others, or they may have seen negative attitudes online.

What is most important is that they have shared it with you now and that indicates how important your relationship is to them. They want you to know about this part of their life, even if it feels scary to tell you.

Maybe they’re gay and not gender diverse?


Gender identity and sexual orientation are two distinct but related aspects of a person, and they often get confused. Someone’s gender is how they see themselves (male, female, non-binary, trans, genderqueer etc), while sexual orientation is about who they are attracted to (gay, lesbian, bisexual etc). It’s important to understand that both concepts differ so that we don’t make assumptions of one’s identity.

Research shows it’s not uncommon for a gender diverse young person to think they may be gay before coming to a fuller realisation about their gender. This may be because they feel it is more acceptable to be sexuality diverse initially, or that sexuality diverse messaging is more accessible and easier to understand than gender diversity.

My child says they are gender fluid or non-binary. Are they just confused?


The “gender binary” is the idea that there are only two genders – male and female. However, for some people gender identity sits on a spectrum. It can be fluid, shifting between more masculine, more feminine, or something else. A person may have a non-binary gender, meaning they do not identify strictly as male or female – they could identify as both, neither, or another gender entirely. In our Trans Pathways study, out of 859 Australian young people, 48.6% identified as non-binary.

Click here for a full glossary of terms related to gender identity.

Isn’t life more difficult for gender diverse people?


Many parents of gender diverse children worry about this, however many, many gender diverse people find love, build careers, have families and live fulfilling lives. While gender diverse people do have higher rates of mental health difficulties such as suicide, self-harm, substance abuse, anxiety, depression and eating disorders, we know family support is the strongest protective factor against these. For example, one study found that young people who had their pronouns respected by most or all of the people in their lives attempted suicide 50% less than those whose pronouns were not respected.

Click here for research regarding the impact of parental support on trans children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing outcomes.

Click here for research showing the positive impact of having pronouns respected on young people’s mental health.

Click here for a list of notable trans people who have excelled in their field.

What next?

What is gender affirmation?


Gender affirmation is also known as social transitioning, where your child might want to make changes to live as the gender they know themselves to be. Such changes might involve: new hairstyles, non-binary clothing, wearing makeup, use of their chosen name and/or pronouns and more. This is a unique process for every person who might want to make these changes at once, over time, or none at all. Trans people are not required to look a certain way to be “trans enough”. For children and young people who experience gender dysphoria, these changes can be important in reducing their distress and improving their mental health.

Talking to your child about how and when they want to affirm their gender  can be helpful. They may want to make changes in one environment (e.g. just at home) or in multiple environments  (e.g. at school as well as home). If they want to make changes in public environments, it is useful to talk to them about staying safe too. Gender affirmation can move gender dysphoria to ‘gender euphoria’ –  the experience of feeling great about oneself, one’s body, and one’s gender.

Click here for resources on affirming your child’s gender in school.

Click here for resources on telling others about your child’s transition.

My child has told me they are gender diverse and they are ready to make some changes straight away – what do I do about school/education?


Usually a child may have spent a long time feeling “different” without having the language to describe to others how they feel. They may have been questioning their gender identity for months or even years before they decide to – or can – communicate this. So while these changes might seem sudden for you, it’s not for them. Research consistently shows us that strong parental support, and being their “safe place”, is the most important aspect for their well-being, at home and at school.

Click here to access resources and guidance on communicating with your child’s school or place of education.

How do I tell my other children? Is this just too confusing for them?


For some siblings it may take time to come to terms with the adjustment, whereas other siblings adapt better and more easily than the adults. Siblings also may often know before you do – it can be useful to check with your trans child whether they have already shared this information with them so you don’t ‘out’ them. Increasingly, younger generations are often more open and accepting of diverse representations of gender. Regardless, they often look to parents and other adults for direction to understand what is going on, and setting a good example will help everyone in the household.

Click here for information and tips on supporting siblings.

How do I re-introduce my child to people that have known them their whole life?


Firstly, ask your child permission if they want certain people to know before you do anything else. Your child may wish to tell the world or want to take it slow. They may want to tell people themselves or for you to do so with or without them present. Your child may only want details such as their name and pronoun/s to be public while keeping things like mental health or gender-affirming care private. Respecting their wishes is most important.

It might be helpful to know what you’re going to say before you talk to others and consider answers to common questions that might come up. People in your child’s life may never have (or never been aware they have) met a gender diverse person before and could have some challenging questions. Your child may want this to be a conversation that happens in person, by letter or email or in the family group chat.

Click here for resources and tips on communicating with others.

What is an ally?


An ally is someone who supports a specific marginalised community without belonging to it themselves. Allyship involves understanding and supporting the rights and issues of that community. Allies in the trans community:

  • Educate themselves on the struggles of the community. There is often a lot of misinformation, especially in the media. Finding good-quality sources of information and talking to, or reading accounts from trans people will be
  • Respect their name and pronouns. Listening to the trans people in your life and respecting their name and pronouns is a great start. It may take time to adjust, but putting in the effort is a fundamental way to show support.
  • Are open to feedback. It’s totally normal to make mistakes (e.g. using the wrong name or pronouns). If you make a mistake, correct yourself, apologise and swiftly move on.

Younger Children

My young child hasn’t shared any specific discomfort with their gender but something doesn’t feel right. Are there any signs to look out for?


It’s normal for children and teenagers to experiment with gender. Most children start expressing their gender identity at around 2-3 years of age and this is reflected in the way they talk about themselves as well as other aspects such as the clothes they want to wear or the toys they choose to play with. For most children, experimenting with gender doesn’t mean they are going to be trans and are comfortable with the gender they were given at birth. Some gender diverse children may have no issue expressing their gender identity and do so happily.

Looking out for signs of distress or anxiety may mean that your child is experiencing gender dysphoria, which can be harmful to their mental health. This can include:

  • Becoming upset or angry if they are referred to as a boy or girl or other gender-specific terms like son or daughter.
  • Persisting in stating they are a different gender, for example, “I’m a boy, not a girl”.
  • Experiencing increased anxiety like withdrawing from their usual activities and having tantrums. This might be more obvious when taking part in activities that make them more aware of their gender identity like sports.
  • Asking you to use a different name or pronoun for them.
  • Becoming distressed about going to the toilet or doing so in a certain way (e.g.a girl standing up to urinate).
  • Asking questions about gender such as a boy asking “Can I have children when I grow up?”
  • Becoming upset about their physical characteristics such as a boy not wanting to have a penis.

Click here for specific resources on understanding and supporting early childhood gender identity and expression.

Click here for a research article on how the above resources were developed.

Isn’t my child too young to know?


Most children start expressing their gender identity at around 2-3 years of age. Research shows that the awareness of a gender diverse child is on par with that of a non-gender diverse child – they have a solid sense of their gender in the same way and at the same time as other children do. They might, however, lack the language to express this clearly. Or they might be old enough to be aware that expressing how they feel might be unsettling for others. Consequently, they might not disclose how they are feeling for some time once they become aware of feeling “different”. Some children freely express this incongruence as early as toddlerhood, others don’t. “Knowing” from an early age does not make a child any “more or less trans” than a child who expresses their gender at a later stage in life.

Click here for research on gender cognition in young children.

Click here for specific resources on understanding and supporting early childhood gender identity and expression.

Click here for a research article on how the above resources were developed.

Older Children

My child or teenager hasn’t verbalised any specific discomfort with their gender but something doesn’t feel right. Are there any signs to look out for?


If your child is experiencing gender dysphoria (i.e. a sense of distress because their gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth) some signs may include:

  • Asking you to use a different name or pronoun for them.
  • Indicating their gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth or indicating they feel unsure about their gender.
  • Showing signs of anxiety, especially in social situations.
  • Showing signs of depression and being withdrawn, or not wanting to take part in their usual activities. This might be more obvious when taking part in activities that make them more aware of their gender identity like sports.
  • Wanting to get rid of or hide the physical characteristics of their sex (e.g. wearing clothes to hide their body) or wanting to have the physical characteristics of a different sex (e.g. a boy asking to take medication that will make them more feminine).
  • Harming themselves such as cutting or scratching.

Click here for resources to support your child’s mental health and wellbeing if they are struggling.

My child didn’t show any signs of being gender diverse or being distressed about their gender identity when they were young, are they really trans?


While some people say they knew they were gender diverse from an early age, others experience a longer journey. People can come to understand their gender at any age. Many have a longstanding feeling of being “different” but don’t connect that to their gender until they find the language or experiences of other trans people that reflect how they are feeling. While early childhood is a common time for children to express this, the onset of puberty is another common time for young people to understand and communicate their gender. The physical developments that take place when puberty starts can trigger a sharp discomfort between how they feel internally about their gender and how their body is developing in  line with the sex assigned for them at birth (this is known as gender dysphoria). Sometimes a young person will come out as sexually diverse before realising it is their gender, not sexuality, that they are struggling with. Sometimes young people have known  for a long time before they tell others, which can be due to a lack of language, stigma, or fear of rejection.

Click here for more information on gender dysphoria.

Has my child been influenced by their friends or social media, is this a new phenomenon?


In short – no.

Trans people are not simply trans because people around them are. If your child is exploring and questioning their gender, or wondering why they feel “different”, they may access information that can be insightful, they may identify with someone else’s story, or they may be finding the language to describe how they feel. This is less about being influenced by the world around them, rather than gaining a sense of clarity about who they are and how they feel. Similarly, if a young person who is not experiencing a sense of gender diversity talks to a trans person, watches a YouTube video or accesses a chat room conversation, they are not likely to decide that they are trans just by discovering this content. It is good to remember that teenage years are a key time for young people to explore and discover their sense of self. As they grow more independent, they also gravitate more towards their peer networks, being in person and/or online.

While gender identity isn’t a new phenomenon, what has changed are our cultural perspectives on it. The understanding that someone’s gender may not correspond with the sex assigned for them at birth is a much more accepted and dominant view nowadays. This is mainly due to the heightened media attention, the increases in legal protections and social safety, the awareness and therefore confidence in trans people, as well as the advances and availability of gender-affirming care. Across time and cultures, trans identity is well-documented, however it’s the way it is being documented now that legitimizes its reach.

Regardless of the topic, communicating with your child about what information they access online, particularly through social media, is always important to make sure they are keeping safe and not accessing misinformation.

Click here for an ABC article on the long history of trans people in Australia and beyond.


What is transition?


A person may go through any number of changes to achieve their sense of gender identity. Transition can be roughly divided into three categories: social, legal, and medical, and a person may only involve one, a combination or none of these transitions. For your child, these decisions are best made within a supportive environment with their well-being firmly centred as the top priority.

Social Transition: Social transition is the first step, and may be the only step. Social transition may include changes in, among other things: name and pronoun usage, hair length or style, clothing, jewellery, makeup use, growing or grooming body hair or adapting their manner of speaking. It can involve situational changes that can include: using a different bathroom or change room, participating in different activities and sharing their gender with others (i.e. announcements to friends, social media circles, etc).  A person might share this information widely — at home, school, or work — or they might disclose these changes only to family and close friends.

Legal Transition: Legal or documentary transition refers to changing your legal gender, name or gender marker (i.e. male or female) on official documents. Documents might include passports, drivers licence, birth certificate, school records, bank accounts, Medicare cards, private health care cards etc.

Click here for more information on legal transition.

Medical Transition: Some trans young people want to access gender-affirming medical care. While this isn’t necessary and opting not to do so doesn’t make anyone less trans, it can be an important step for many. Very simply put, under the guidance of a specialist health service, young people can access two types of treatment.

Stage 1 treatment: Puberty delaying treatment or ‘blockers’ can be used to delay the onset of changes associated with puberty to allow ‘thinking time’, exploration of gender identity and suppress existing hormones. This is usually used in early puberty and can be reversed.

Stage 2 treatment: Hormone treatment can be used gradually to raise the desired hormone to a level that affects physical changes over months or years. For some adults, surgical interventions are desired to bring a person’s body in line with their gender identity.

Click here for information regarding gender-affirming care services for younger children or older children.

Is my child old enough to make decisions about gender-affirming care?


Research shows that children as young as 12 can have the conscious capacity and reasoning to be involved in making decisions with their caregivers about their health care. Children as young as 15 have the cognitive ability to make decisions that are comparable with those of adults in terms of their health care. A child’s ability to make informed decisions is related to the individual’s cognitive and emotional development. If your child has come out to you and has indicated their interest in accessing gender-affirming care, they are inviting you to discuss these decisions with you.

What if my child regrets their decision to pursue gender-affirming treatment later in life?


Some parents worry that when their child is older they will regret their earlier decision to seek gender-affirming care when they were younger. While regret is a valid risk of any medical treatment, the rate of regret amongst trans adults is well-studied and is relatively low. One large study found that approximately 13% of individuals had discontinued or reversed medical transition, but most of them (83%) did so due to an external factor such as pressure from family or societal stigma. That means only .02% of people in the study reversed their treatment (also known as de-transitioning) due to internal factors such as a sense of their gender identity fluctuating (Turban et al., 2021). Another study followed over 6,700 trans young people and adults over a period of 43 years and found just 0.6% of transwomen and 0.3% of transmen expressed regret at accessing gender-affirming treatment (Wiepjes et al., 2018). In both of these studies, regret was sometimes due to people realising a non-binary identity, indicating that conventional binary options of gender-affirming care may not suit everyone.

Adult Children

My child is over 25 years old and has told me they are trans – what can I do to better understand and support them?


Our site is tailored for parents of children 25 years and under, however, there is still a wealth of information on our site that may be relevant. We do recommend finding additional, specific resources for trans adults and their families – the TransHub site is a great place to start.