Transgender Parents

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Thousands of children around the United States have parents who are transgender, an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity—one’s inner sense of being male or female—differs from the sex assigned or presumed at birth.

These moms and dads are pretty much like anyone else, whether married, living with partners or single, and whether adopting, giving birth, fostering or step-parenting. Indeed, while the fact that they’re transgender is often what others focus on first, transgender parents are generally more preoccupied with diapers, homework or getting dinner on the table: They are parents first.

Good parenting is good parenting, regardless of gender identity. A common misconception (often exploited in custody disputes) is that transitioning—living and presenting oneself consistent with one’s gender identity in everyday life—is a selfish act rather than a difficult journey that is not embarked upon casually. Transitioning is more accurately understood as a step toward the alignment of a person’s mind and body, and as such can benefit everyone affected, including children. And that’s not to mention the value to children of learning about human diversity and tolerance.

February 7, 2012