Support Group for Parents of Transgender Children: From Shock to Empowerment and Resilience

Proceedings of The World Conference on Gender Equality

Year: 2023



Support Group for Parents of Transgender Children: From Shock to Empowerment and Resilience

Dr. Hana Israeli




Over the past decade, there has been a notable rise in the number of individuals identifying as transgender or gender variant. Unfortunately, transgender people continue to face societal prejudices, including rejection, bullying, and discrimination. Research consistently emphasizes the significant role parents play in reducing distress and promoting life satisfaction among their transgender children. Four years ago, I initiated an ongoing support group for parents of transgender and gender variant children. The primary objective is to assist parents in navigating and supporting their child’s journey of gender transition. This is achieved by encouraging participants to share their emotions in an open and non-judgmental atmosphere. The foundation of my approach to gender diversity and facilitation is based on the Gender Affirmative model and Winnicott’s concept of true and false self. During this presentation, I will share the experiences of parents and illustrate the process they undergo within the support group. Upon joining, parents often express their challenges in accepting their child’s gender identity change. These difficulties often include feelings of shock, denial, guilt, shame, and concerns about their child’s future. Participation in the support group enables parents to embrace acceptance, enhance support for their child, and strengthen their parent-child relationship. Moreover, it fosters a sense of empowerment and resilience among parents. The lecture will be accompanied by clinical examples from the group sessions.

keywords: Emotional support, Gender identity, Gender nonconforming children, Parenthood, Transition