Parenting a child with gender-identity concerns

Children who identify with a gender other than that assigned at birth in the past perhaps struggled in isolation until reaching adulthood. Today children can simply turn on the TV or pick up a paper and see people with a variety of gender identities. As a pediatrician, I have had parents call as their children have told them they feel they are transgender, gender-variant, gender-queer or other terms. At times parents may not even know what these terms mean.

A useful description of gender and sexual identity terms is the genderbread person. It breaks down that gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and who a person is sexually attracted to and romantically attracted to are all different parts of a person’s identity.


There are some resources for parents of children on the LGBT spectrum. One is PFLAG which runs support groups that many parents have found helpful. Locally Children’s Friend in Worcester runs a group for gender-expansive youth and one for parents/caregivers. The book The Gender Creative Child can be helpful.  Helping Your Transgender Teen is another book. There are online resources as well. The Human Rights Coalition has a page of information and links on transgender children. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists also has a guide.

Transgender children can receive medical care including hormones at UMass Gender Clinic, Boston Children’s, and Boston Medical Center.


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