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Nonfiction Social Sciences

Child, Family, and Community Transformations: Findings from Interviews with Mothers of Transgender Girls

By Katherine A. Kuvalankaa, Judith L. Weinera, and Derek Mahan, 2014

The present study represents findings from interviews with five moth- ers, each of whom had a transgender child. All of the transgender children were natal/biological males between the ages of 8 and 11 years old and had socially transitioned to living as girls. Ehren- saft’s (2012) notion of the “true gender self” was integrated with an ecological perspective to examine multiple interacting contexts, including family, neighborhood, and school, in which the partic- ipants lived. An overarching theme of “transformation” (or lack thereof) was used to organize the findings in relation to the trans- gender children, their families, and their communities. Changes in relation to the children’s demeanor and well-being before and after their social transitions (e.g., from shy and depressed to happy and well-adjusted), the parents’ and other family members’ feelings and reactions to the children’s gender identities and expressions over time (e.g., health care professionals and school staff learning along with and from the families), and the responses of others in the community (e.g., lack of knowledgeable health care professionals and school personnel) are discussed. Findings have implications for practice and future research.

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