The first nationally representative sample of transgender people in the U.S. finds no difference in mental and physical health between transgender and cisgender parents
An estimated 19% of transgender adults in the U.S. are parents, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. The majority of transgender parents are women ( 53% ), while approximately one-third are non-binary ( 36% ) and one-tenth ( 12% ) are transgender men.
Using data from the U.S. Transgender Population Health Survey ( TransPop ), the first national probability sample of transgender people in the U.S., researchers examined the quality of life and mental and physical health of transgender and cisgender parents.
While researchers found that transgender people overall experience more psychological distress and are less happy and satisfied with their lives than cisgender people, there were no differences in health outcomes between transgender and cisgender parents.
"It is possible that the positive experiences of parenthood may counteract some of the negative effects of stigmatization," said study author Jody Herman, a scholar of public policy at the Williams Institute.
-Transgender and cisgender parents are more likely to live in non-urban areas, and more likely to have a high school diploma or less, compared to non-parents.
-Transgender parents were significantly older than transgender non-parents, but significantly younger than cisgender parents.
-Fewer transgender parents than cisgender parents reported a heterosexual orientation, a cisgender partner, or a relationship longer than five years.
"Transgender parents often face substantial challenges becoming parents or establishing legal recognition as parents," said lead author Nicola Carone, Assistant Professor at the University of Pavia. "These findings indicate that family practitioners and policymakers should not assume that problems reported by transgender parents are at all related to their ability to parent. They are more likely the result of pervasive stigma and discrimination against transgender people."
The report, "Demographics and Health Outcomes in a U.S. Probability Sample of Transgender Parents" appears in the Journal of Family Psychology and is co-authored by Nicola Carone, Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Pavia; Esther D. Rothblum, Ph.D., Williams Institute Visiting Distinguished Scholar; Henny Bos, Ph.D., Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam; Nanette Gartrell, M.D., Williams Institute Visiting Distinguished Scholar; and Jody Herman, Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute.
The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.