Families in Transition: Parenting Gender Diverse Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults is a compilation of clinically oriented articles, research, and case material authored by mental health and medical experts, both nationally and internationally known, as well as first-person narratives written by parents and families, exploring the complexities faced by parents and caretakers attending to the needs of their children in a largely hostile world. The professional articles are positioned side by side with the voices of the parents themselves—each complementing the other—together adding up to a richly complex, original tapestry.
While most books on this subject highlight the experiences of the gender diverse child and adolescent, parents’ perspectives are placed front and center. Those raising these children and adolescents have unique struggles and personal processes as caregivers and advocates. Making complex social and medical decisions in a society that is hostile and polarized only complicates the picture. This book highlights their rarely heard voices and gives insight to therapists and physicians on how to support all members of the family, helping them grow and heal during what is often a challenging time.
Families in Transition:
-Challenges the ways we think about cultural norms and how those impact our clinical work;
-Explores a parent’s desire for their child to live authentically alongside a desire to protect them;
-Highlights how the attitudes and behaviors of extended relatives impact the gender nonconforming child and their caretakers;
-Presents a historical overview contrasting the reparative and the affirmative models of treatment;
-Illustrates how difficult treatment can be when a patient is reticent to disclose their gender identity to their parents or when parents either have little information or are in denial;
-Offers strategies on how best to advocate for a child in a school setting;
-Outlines best practices for the care of transgender youth.
This text is designed for mental health professionals—clinicians, educators, and researchers; medical providers; parents and caretakers of gender diverse children, adolescents, and young adults; and is suitable for graduate and doctoral level coursework in a range of subject areas, including gender, sexuality, and family studies.
This is an urgent, timely book that elucidates the complexities and revelations families face as they go through transition. Full of indispensable advice and wisdom, all beautifully organized and compassionately expressed, it is a vital guide.
—Andrew Solomon, professor of clinical psychology, Columbia University Medical Center and author of Far From the Tree
Within these pages, a dream team of professionals cover a giant plethora of topics. This book is the new go-to bible for all loved ones of transgender youth.
—Jeanette Jennings, mom of trans youth activist Jazz Jennings and president of the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation
Incorporating the work of leading researchers and therapists, Lev and Gottlieb provide a comprehensive understanding of gender diverse kids and their families. Their balanced presentation pairs the most up-to-date research with real-life experiences of families in transition. The result is a compelling volume that bridges understandings, offers practical guidance, and inspires all of us to do better in supporting our gender expansive kids.
—M. Paz Galupo, Ph.D., Towson University, and editor of the Journal of GLBT Family Studies
A compelling, comprehensive, and sensitive compendium of solutions for families of trans and gender creative youth! Offering gem after gem, Families in Transition is a gift, helping parents move toward acceptance for the sake of protection.
—Lee-Anne Gray, PsyD, author of LGBTQ+ Youth, Self-Compassion for Teens, and The Happy Family
Lev and Gottlieb pull together a comprehensive exploration of the power of family support, discuss the profound impact of raising a transgender and gender nonconforming child, and address the importance of affirmative approaches to help navigate their journey. The personal and professional focus on the often misunderstood and silenced voices of parents and family members, whose love, wisdom, concerns, struggles, and joys are candidly explored, makes this a must read.
—Shawn V. Giammattei, PhD, Quest Family Therapy & Alliant International University (Rockway Institute)
Table of Contents:
A Note on the Evolution of Language
Foreword, by Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT Ackerman Institute for the Family New York City
Introduction, by Andrew R. Gottlieb, PhD, LCSW
Introduction, by Arlene I. Lev, LCSW-R, CASAC, CST
Part 1: Gender Nonconforming Children and Trans Youth: What You Didn’t Expect When Expecting
1. It Takes a Gender Creative Parent, by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD
2. Helping Parents Face Their Fears, by Irwin Krieger, LCSW
3. On the (L)edge of Transition: The Reyes Family, by Lisette Lahana, LCSW
Part 2: Theory and Research: What Should Parents Be Aware Of?
4. The “80% Desistance” Dictum: Is It Science?, by Kelley Winters, PhD
5. All in the Family: How Extended Family Relationships Are Influenced by Children’s Gender Diverse and Transgender Identities, by Katherine A. Kuvalanka, PhD, Molly Gardner, MA, and Cat Munroe, PhD
6. More Than the Sum of Your Parts: A Theoretical Perspective, by Andreas Neumann Mascis, PhD
Part 3: Clinical Issues: What Are the Parents’ Concerns and Challenges Regarding Cultural Diversity, Clinical Models, and Psychiatric Treatment?
7. Walking a Tightrope: A Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Perspective on the Spectrum of Affirmation and Pathologization with Gender Diverse Youth, by Scott Leibowitz, MD
8. Chinese Canadian Families with Transgender Youth, by Nena Wang, MA, and Wallace Wong, PsyD, R Psych
9. Approaches to the Treatment of Gender Diverse Children and Transgender Youth, by Arlene I. Lev, LCSW-R, CASAC, CST
10. Micah and His Protectors, by Lisette Lahana, LCSW
Part 4: Identity Transformation: How Do Children’s Gender Identity/Gender Nonconforming Behaviors Shift Parents’ Perceptions of Their Child and of Themselves as Parents?
11. Transforming the Identity of Parents of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Children, by Margaret Nichols, PhD, and Stephanie Sasso, PsyD
12. My Own Transition, by Elena Moser, LCSW
Part 5: Medical Concerns: How Do Puberty Suppression and/or Hormonal Considerations Affect Parents?
13. But Doc, Is It Safe? Effects of Pubertal Suppression and Trans Hormone Therapy for Youth, by Irene N. Sills, MD
14. Discussing Aspects of Medical Transition with Parents of Young Transgender People: A Psychotherapist’s Perspective, by Damien W. Riggs, PhD, FAPS
15. Family-Oriented Medical Care for Gender Nonconforming Children, Adolescents, and Their Families, by Carolyn Wolf-Gould, MD
16. When My Son Became My Daughter, by C.V.R., PhD
Part 6: Family Functioning: What Is the Effect of Gender Atypical Behavior on Parental Relationships, Extended Family, and Siblings?
17. Supporting Siblings through Transition: A Child-Centered, Transfeminist Therapeutic Approach, by Shannon L. Sennott, LICSW, and Davis Chandler, LICSW
18. “I Was Hoping It Would Be a Phase”: The Challenges Parents Face Raising a Gender Nonconforming Child, by Elizabeth Anne Riley, PhD
19. The Experiences of Parents of Transgender Individuals Who Transition in Adulthood, by Katherine Rachlin, PhD
20. Transition in Four Voices, by Barbara Rio-Glick, MSW, Shelley Rio-Glick, MSW, Sonya Rio-Glick,
and AJ Rio-Glick
Part 7: Educational Concerns: How Do Parents Manage and Advocate for Gender Nonconforming Children and Transition-Related Issues in a School Setting?
21. Social Transitioning for Gender Dysphoric Children: A Practical Guide for Parents, by Wallace Wong, PsyD, R Psych, and Sabrina C. H. Chang, MA
22. Please Stop Calling My Daughter “He”: Advocating for Teens and Preteens in the School Setting, by Deborah Coolhart, PhD, LMFT
Part 8: Support Groups: What Is the Parent’s Experience of Available Support Groups and Advocacy Organizations?
23. The Experience of Parent Facilitators in a PFLAG Support Group for Parents of Transgender Youth and Young Adults, by Melissa MacNish, MA, LMHC
24. Peer Support for Parents of Gender Nonconforming Children: Benefits and Risks, by Rex Butt, PhD
25. Camp Aranu’tiq: Notes from the First Camp for Transgender and Gender Variant Youth, by Nick M. Teich, LCSW, PhD
26. Tom-Girl, Trans Girl, Pink Boy: Finding a Support Group for All, by Lauren P., PsyD
Appendix: Best Practices for the Care of Transgender Youth
About the Editors and Contributors
Acknowledgments, by Andrew R. Gottlieb
Acknowledgments, by Arlene I. Lev
About the Editors:
Arlene (Ari) I. Lev is a social worker, family therapist, and international trainer with expertise in addictions and sex therapy. She is the clinical director of Choices Counseling and Consulting in Albany, New York, a lecturer at the University at Albany, and has published widely on LGBTQ families and transgender identity.
Andrew R. Gottlieb maintains a full-time private psychotherapy practice in Brooklyn, New York, serving mostly LGBTQ adolescents and young adults. He is author or editor of five other LGBTQ family-related books and an editor for the Journal of GLBT Family Studies.