Lecture – Transgender Youth and Families in Transition – Research Findings and Clinical Implications

Available with English captions.

Presented by Sabra L. Katz-Wise, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital – Visiting Scholar Series

A 2015 survey found that 65% of transgender youth experienced verbal harassment and 25% reported physical harassment or assault. Further, 75% said they felt unsafe at school. In another 2015 survey, 18% of transgender youths reported they had an unsupportive family. In addition, one in 10 said they had experienced violence from a family member and 8% had been kicked out of their home.

In this lecture, Katz-Wise addresses the mental health challenges facing transgender youth. She examines the impacts of gender identity. She also stresses the importance of family support as a protective factor for transgender children and teens.

Also, Katz-Wise explores the ways contextual factors can improve or harm transgender mental health.

Watch now to learn more about:

  • The impact of family support on transgender youths’ mental health
  • Contextual factors that affect the experiences of families with transgender children
  • Clinical implications for working with transgender youths and families

Katz-Wise examines how the stress of being part of a gender minority, along with a lack of family support, increases the risk for adverse mental health outcomes among transgender youth when compared to cisgender youth.

Also, she details the ways in which contextual factors can affect the families of transgender youth. Experiences at school, interactions with extended family members, and religious practices, she says, can provide either support or present challenges for individuals and families.

Building on these discussions, Katz-Wise offers advice for mental health professionals who work with transgender youths and their families. Because transgender children and teens’ perception of family functioning has the greatest impact on their mental health, she says that clinicians should focus on the transgender child’s perspective but also involve the whole family to provide support.

Katz-Wise also points out that different family members have different perceptions of family functioning and support. With this in mind, she says that support for transgender youth, caregivers, and siblings should be specific to each type of family member.

She also calls on everyone to educate people about the issues facing transgender youth and their families and advocate for more supportive policies and programs on the local, state, and federal level.