Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 183, Issue 2, pp 277–281 | Cite as

Parent–child relationships in gender identity disorder

  • H. A. ChurchEmail author
  • D. O’Shea
  • J. V. Lucey
Original Article



To describe the relationship between parents with gender identity disorder (GID) and their child(ren) as described by the parent and to understand how being a parent affects transitioning from one gender to the other.


Fourteen parents with GID underwent a semi-structured interview and completed the Index of Parental Attitudes (IPA). An IPA score of greater than 30 indicates parent–child relationship difficulties (range 0–100). The authors also conducted the SCID-I to establish other Axis I disorders.


We assessed 12 male to female and two female to male parents with GID residing in Ireland. In total, 14 GID parents had 28 children. Three children had no relationship with their GID parent. The other 25 children, as reported by the parent, had good relationships with their children. In addition, these 25 children average score IPA score was 6.4 (range 0–25). Twelve GID parents (86 %) believed that being a parent had no effect on their desired level of transitioning, while two were influenced not to transition. Eleven GID parents (79 %) reported that being a parent had increased the time taken to commence transitioning, two have stopped transitioning altogether, while one cited no effect on time.


Parents with GID report positive relationships or no relationship with their children and the IPA revealed no clinical problems. Being a parent can prolong transitioning time in people with GID and can affect overall achieved level of transitioning.


Gender identity disorder Transgender Parent–child relationships Gender dysphoria Axis I disorders IPA—index of parental attitudes 


Conflict of interest



  1. 1.
    Von Kesteren P, Gooren L, Megans J (1996) An epidemiological and demographic study of transsexuals in the Netherlands. Arch Sex Behav 25:589–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Di Ceglie D, Freedman D (1998) A sranger in my own body: atypical gender identity development and mental health. Karnac Books, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Tully B (1992) Accounting for transsexualism and transhomosexuality. Whiting and Birch, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    De Gascun KJ, Salter N, Lucey JV, O’Shea D (2006) Gender identity disorder. Ir Med J 3:146–148Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    White T, Ettner R (2007) Adaptation and adjustment in children of transsexual parents. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 16:215–221PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Green R (1978) Sexual identity of 37 children raised by homosexual or transsexual parents. Am J Psychiatry 135:692–697PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Di Ceglie D, Freedman D, Tasker F (2002) Children and adolescents with transsexual parents referred to a specialist gender identity development service: a brief report of key developmental features. Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry 7:423–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edn. Washington, DC, USAGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hudson WW (1982) The clinical measurement package: a field manual. Dorsey Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    First MB, Spitzer RL, Robert L, Gibbon M, Williams JBW (1996) Structured clinical interview for DSM-IV-TR Axis I Disorders, Clinical Version (SCID-CV). American Psychiatric Press Inc, Washington DCGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lucena ClinicDepartment of Child & Adolescent PsychiatryRathgar, Dublin 6Ireland
  2. 2.Department of EndocrinologyColmcille’s HospitalLoughlinstownIreland
  3. 3.St. Vincent’s HospitalDublinIreland
  4. 4.St. Patrick’s University HospitalDublin 8Ireland

Personalised recommendations