A video recently circulated Facebook, telling the story of parents Sam and Nicole who found it difficult to foster a child because Sam is transgender.
This poses the question, how difficult is it to adopt a child if you’re transgender?
I spoke to foster parent, Kate* about what difficulties a transgender person might face whilst applying to become a foster parent.
“There shouldn’t be a problem fostering as a transgender parent unless there’s something extra in the persons history or they haven’t or only recently transitioned as they need time to stabilise their home and their family.” She explains how there are many reasons why people are turned down as foster carers, gender or sexuality doesn’t come into it unless something else has been flagged up, for example if they have very young children. “We are looking after the most vulnerable children in society so the parents have to be stable and secure to be able to provide for the children.”
Children are becoming more open with their sexuality and are experimenting with who they are as it becomes more widely accepted in society especially amongst young people. This has of course led to more LGBT+ children in general and more importantly in foster care.
Kate says “being able to empathise with a transitioning child if you’re transgender yourself will be a positive thing for some but it won’t always be that way. A transitioning child may feel pressure if they’re with a transgender parent to feel like that is how they have to be. Children interpret their surroundings in totally different ways so it’s more child specific”
It definitely shows that unless a parent has any other factor that makes them unfit to foster a child, a transgender parent deserves the same right as anybody else to become a foster parent.
For more information on gender nonconformity in children and young people or for support visit http://www.mermaidsuk.org.uk/ or call the mermaids helpline on 0344 334 0550
*name has been changed as parent requested to remain anonymous