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The sibling experience: growing up with a trans sibling

Family Mental Health & Wellbeing Research
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Authors: Parker, E. & Davis-McCabe, C.

Date of publication: 2021

Journal: Australian Journal of Psychology

This Western Australian study looked at the experiences and needs of 17 siblings (aged 14-26 years) of trans people. The researchers found that siblings also go through processes of transition. Siblings reported challenges such as lack of knowledge of trans identities, a lack of trans visibility in society, having to act as the go-between between their trans sibling and others, managing conflict, experiencing strain or cut-off in their relationships with other people, holding the knowledge of their sibling’s gender identity when others were unaware, witnessing their trans sibling’s negative experiences, and suppressing their own negative emotions. Positive experiences included developing stronger and closer relationships with their sibling, strengthened family relationships, experiencing support from family and social relationships, and developing their understanding of diversity and identity. The researchers concluded that siblings a. need accessible and accurate information about gender diversity; b. to see increased trans visibility; c. to connect with others in similar situations and; d. targeted counselling and services.

You can read the full study here.