Medico, D., Pullen Sansfaçon, A., Zufferey, A., Galantino, G., Bosom, M. et Suerich-Gulick, F. (2020). Pathways to gender affirmation in trans youth: A qualitative and participative study with youth and their parents. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 25(4), 1002-1014.
How trans youth realize about their gender identity and come out to their significant others is under-researched and very few studies include both youth and parental perspectives. This study was developed in Switzerland, a country where families with trans youth are just beginning to break invisibility. The research protocol draws on grounded theory methodology, is participative and developed in collaboration with a local trans NGO and a pan Canadian project. We conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with 10 trans youth and their caregivers/parents (10 interview). At least three developmental pathways seem to emerge: a) the affirmed children who affirm themselves very early, (b) the silent children who spend their childhood in a state of internal tension without being able to position themselves and (c) the neutral children who become aware of their gender difference at puberty following a childhood in which gender was not problematic. In all cases puberty is a crossroads, lived painfully with significant manifestations of both social and body dysphoria. A better understanding of the process of gender development in trans children and youth will help improve our interventions to better serve young people and their families, and help them overcome the different levels of oppressions they face.