More Than Half Of Americans Say They'd Support Their Kids' Transition If They Came Out As Transgender

"Once [parents] get on board—often after stages of denial, rejection, condemnation and grief—they become powerful advocates," says Dr. Laura Arrowsmith.

According to a new survey, 53% of American adults say they would support their teenage children's request to transition if they came out as transgender.

Conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, an online poll of nearly 2,200 adults found that 53% of would support their teenage child's request to transition.

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Of the female respondents, 56% were supportive—the same percentage as college graduates. Respondents in the Northeast were even more supportive, with 58% saying they'd back their child's desire to transition.

"Parents have a significant role in raising transgender kids," said Dr. Laura Arrowsmith, who is herself transgender and operates a clinic for trans patients in Oklahoma City.

Transgender youth (and adults) are more likely to experience homelessness, mental health issues, and substance abuse, especially if they're rejected by their families. Parental acceptance can dramatically improve trans kids' health outcomes.

A study released earlier this year also suggested that letting trans kids transition before puberty greatly decreases depression and anxiety.

For younger trans kids, transitioning generally involves changes in socialization—names, pronouns, gender expression. Once a child reaches adolescence, they may take puberty blockers to postpone the development of secondary sex characteristics.

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An adopted transitioning child from boy to girl poses with her father and step dad.

"We know that if a child persists through puberty in identifying as the sex not assigned to them at birth, then it's pretty certain that they are transgender," says Arrowsmith. If a patient opts to change course and stop taking blockers, they'll simply go through a delayed puberty.

Beginning the process earlier makes medical transitioning later much easier. Regardless of the path transgender kids pursue, parental support has a tremendous impact.

"Once [parents] get on board—often after stages of denial, rejection, condemnation and grief—they become powerful advocates at school and with extended family," says Arrowsmith. "This is crucial to the child's well-being."

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