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Parenting Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth: Relationship between Parental Acceptance-Rejection, Sense of Competence, Access of Resources, and Gender Affirming Parenting Practices

Katie Meidlinger, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Parents of transgender and gender diverse (TGD) youth play an important role in outcomes for their children. Legislation intended to exclude TGD individuals from basic rights and protections has been passed into law around the United States regardless of increasing scientific evidence that gender affirmation sharply decreases the myriad risk factors associated with gender-based discrimination experienced by TGD individuals. Despite increasing attention to TGD issues, parents of TGD children may struggle to find adequate evidence-based information and support. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between parental access of resources related to TGD identity and their gender affirming parenting practices, acceptance-rejection, and their parental sense of competence. Participants were 183 parents of TGD youth in the United States who completed an online survey. The survey was distributed online through social media and newsletters of organizations supporting parents of TGD youth. Findings show that most participants were highly involved in searching out information about TGD identity. Parents found community- and peer-based information the most helpful in their understanding of TGD identity, however these resources were also more difficult to find. More access of resources was associated with a greater sense of parental competence and increased acceptance of their child. Those with both higher parental sense of competence and who were more accepting of their child also tended to practice more gender affirming parenting behaviors. Gender affirming parenting practices were also predicted by parental religiosity factors, such that greater god-consciousness predicted more gender affirming behaviors while greater engagement in formal religious practices predicted fewer gender affirming behaviors. Other demographic factors tended to show attitudes and behaviors consistent with the literature, with sexual and gender minorities, cisgender women, those with higher levels of education, and Democrats reporting higher levels of gender affirming parenting practices. Also, resources were unavailable or delayed due to the pandemic although participants did not feel the pandemic had affected the quality of their parenting.

Subject Area

Gender studies|LGBTQ studies|Individual & family studies|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Meidlinger, Katie, "Parenting Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth: Relationship between Parental Acceptance-Rejection, Sense of Competence, Access of Resources, and Gender Affirming Parenting Practices" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI29321885.
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI29321885

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