Experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming birth parents
Master of Social Work
School for Social Work
Transgender parents, Lesbian parents, Pregnancy-Psychological aspects, Childbirth
To most people, the ability to carry and bear children is one that is inextricably linked with femininity and womanhood. However, some individuals who gestate and give birth to a child do not identify as women or as feminine. At the forefront of disentangling these two concepts from pregnancy and birth are gender non-conforming individuals, including masculine identified women, transgender men, and folks who identify as outside the gender binary of man/woman, who have chosen to carry and bear children. Beyond the narratives of a few well known transmen (e.g., Thomas Beatie) and masculine-of-center lesbians (e.g., A.K. Summers) who have given birth, there is precious little empirical information about the pregnancy and birth experiences of gender non-conforming individuals. In order to better understand and serve this population, I conducted semi-structured interviews with transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who had given birth at least once within the past ten years or who were currently in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, surveying their experiences of conception, pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, with particular focus on interactions with healthcare and social work professionals. Preliminary results of the interviews showed that the conception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming birth parents were diverse and in many ways were similar to the experiences of cisgender individuals, though also included experiences of dysphoria, stigmatization, fear of discrimination, and incredible resilience. More empirical research, both qualitative and quantitative, into the experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming birth parents is needed in order for healthcare and social work professionals to better serve individuals in this community.
Ambrosini, Lauren, ""The most badass thing I've ever done" : experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming birth parents" (2015). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.