24 Feb 2017

Parents of transgender children struggle to find help

From Morning Report, 8:25 am on 24 February 2017

The parents of young transgender children are struggling to find services that can help them.

*Kate's daughter transitioned from male-to-female at age 8

*Kate's daughter transitioned from male-to-female at age 8 Photo: RNZ/Teresa Cowie

Families with trans children, who spoke with RNZ's Insight programme, say they don't know where to turn to for health and counseling services.

It's not known exactly how many transgender children are growing-up in New Zealand.

The best guess can be gleaned from an Auckland University study, in which 4 per cent of students surveyed already thought of themselves as transgender or were questioning their gender identity.

Of the trans students about half had thought they might be trans before they had turned 12.

Kate, who lives in Wellington, is bringing-up her nine-year-old male-to-female trans daughter and says other than online parent communities there is nothing out there for the parents of young trans children.

Tommy Hamilton, a trans advocate and a counselor with Outline NZ, says official help is lacking and parents are having to help each other find a way.

AND You can hear more from parents about what it's like to bring up a transgender child in New Zealand on Insight after the 8 o'clock news this Sunday morning.