CHICAGO — As the latest sign of society’s increasing acceptance of transgender individuals, more than half of parents in the U.S. would support their child’s gender transition, a new survey finds.
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) commissioned the recent survey of nearly 2,200 American adults, trying to gauge perceptions on the sensitive topic of one’s child being transgender.
Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said that they would support their child’s transition to another gender, which is promising, considering how early intervention and family support are essential for a young individual suffering from gender dysphoria.
Compared to the general population, transgender youths and adults experience greater rates of homelessness, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, HIV infection, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.
Oftentimes, these issues emanate from being shunned by family and friends, professionals note.
Parents who fully support their transgender child, whether in regards to dealing with social pressure or via reaffirming their life-changing decision, usually see the best outcomes, according to the AOA.
Changing gender before reaching puberty is easier, as medications taken to prevent one from developing the traits of their birth gender (e.g., breasts) can take fuller and more immediate effect.
“We know that if a child persists through puberty in identifying as the sex not assigned to them at birth, then it’s pretty certain they are transgender,” explains Dr. Laura Arrowsmith, who practices at an Oklahoma-based transgender clinic, in a press release. “Should they decide to change course and stop the puberty-blocking medications, they will simply go through a delayed puberty of their birth gender.”
Although gender reassignment is much easier as a child than as an adult, it is not always easy to reverse the procedure, creating a conundrum for children who aren’t 100 percent certain they’re transgender.
Both parents and children must learn all there is to know about gender dysphoria, gender identity, and the complexities of living transgender before committing to a gender reassignment procedure, Dr. Arrowsmith argues.
Support groups for transgender children can also help parents and kids see the viability of such an option firsthand. The Human Rights Campaign offers a detailed reference guide for parents.
The AOA contracted Harris Poll to conduct the survey in mid-to-late June with Americans aged 18 or older.
No sampling error was calculated.