The family and romantic relationships of trans and gender diverse Australians: an exploratory survey

Damien W Riggs, Henry von Doussa, Jennifer Power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The present paper contributes an Australian focus to the growing body of research on trans and gender diverse people's family and romantic relationships. A survey designed by the authors was completed by 160 trans or gender diverse Australians. A negative correlation was found between discrimination from families of origin and perceptions of support, and conversely a positive correlation was found between perceptions of support and emotional closeness. Analysis of open-ended responses suggested that support was primarily constituted by (1) emotional support, (2) utilising correct pronouns and names, and (3) financial support. Discrimination by families of origin was primarily constituted by (1) refusal to use correct pronouns and names, (2) exclusion from family events, and (3) pathologising responses. The findings in regard to romantic relationships suggest that trans women were more likely than trans men or gender diverse people to experience challenges in negotiating romantic relationships. A negative correlation was found between difficulties in negotiating romantic relationships and belief in the likelihood that an “ideal” romantic relationship would occur in the future. Difficulties in negotiating romantic relationships were primarily described in terms of (1) anxiety over potential responses, (2) discrimination from potential partners, and (3) lack of self-acceptance. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • discrimination
  • families of origin
  • gender diverse
  • romantic relationships
  • support
  • trans

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