- Slides: 45
Centro Interdipartimentale Disturbi dell’Identità di Genere-Molinette A. O. U. San Giovanni Battista Turin - Italy Carlo MOLO onlus Foundation PARENTHOOD AND GENDER IDENTITY DISORDER Chiara CRESPI, Mariateresa MOLO, Valentina MINECCIA WPATH XXII Symposium, Atlanta 24 -28 September 2011
INDEX 1. Parenthood definition 2. Parenthood in Italy: state of the art 3. Marriage 4. Creating a family 5. Criticisms about LGBT parenting 6. Our Study 7. Conclusions
What do we mean by the term “PARENTHOOD“?
PARENTHOOD: Definition The condition, the role of parents PSYCHO-PEDAGOCICAL VISION Dynamic process through which one learns to become a parent able to care sufficiently and adequately in order to respond to the needs of children.
PARENTHOOD Not a simple ROLE but rather a FUNCTION not necessarily related to biological maternity or paternity but extending to CARING PARENTING
NEW FAMILIES Traditional family One parent family Cohabitation FAMILY Homosexual family Open Family
In the world there are many organizations and institutions that protect and guarantee the right to: - marry - create a family - have children for transpeople
BUT… in Italy the situation is difficult, almost impossible. What can transgender do if they want to: - Marry ? - Create a family ? - Have children ?
THE ITALIAN LAW
LAW 14 april 1982, n. 164 • No differences among transsexual and transgender people • No mention about the right to medical and health care and to create a family or about procreation
The marriage between persons of the same sex is prohibited (both religious and civil)
RELIGIOUS MARRIAGE Transpeople are not allowed to have a religious marriage
CIVIL MARRIAGE YES! AFTER SURGERY
TRANSPEOPLE and PROCREATION
HOW TO BECOME A PARENT • • Former relationship Co-parenting Adoption Foster care Donor insemination (not in Italy) Sperm/ova freezing Surrogate mothers (not in Italy)
FOSTERING AND ADOPTING In theory, adoption is possible but the procedure is long and complicated even for people who are not transgender
PARENTHOOD AND TRANSSEXULISM: bias • Transpeople are sick. • Transpeople are promiscuous, have unstable relationships and are often engaged in prostitution. • Risk of damaging emotional and sexual development in children • Risk of making their children object of stigma and contempt. • Their desire is related to solve issues and painful of their personal history
TRANSPEOPLE ARE SICK • DSM - IV The presence of mental illness is insufficient to prevent a parent being responsible for the care and control of their children and it requires a specific assessment on a case by case basis.
TRANSPEOPLE ARE PROMISCUOUS AND HAVE UNSTABLE RELATIONSHIPS • Often there is very low levels of sexuality • “Undressing is often more problematic than dressing» : relationships are often avoided owing to the embarassment of showing the body
RISK OF DAMAGING EMOTIONAL AND SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN • Every parent influences the development of their children but the problem is: Is there anything about a transgender identity that leads to confusion about family roles by either the parent or the child?
Does the transgender identity weaken family bonds – parents to child, child to parents, siblings to sibling – in any way? The "normal" family is becoming the exception, but in any case the development of sexuality not depends ONLY on the attitude and conduct of parents towards their children
RISK OF MAKING THEIR CHILDREN OBJECT OF STIGMA AND CONTEMPT. • IT PERHAPS CAN HAPPEN! • The family is an institution that is influenced by the changes produced by social context
TO SOLVE ISSUES AND PAINFUL PERSONAL HISTORY • An expectation can be projected toward on children and parental role in order to solve issues and painful personal history (EVEN FOR NOT TRANSPEOPLE) • This desire to have children MAY NOT NECESSARILY BE AN ARTIFACT OF T*: many men and women want to have children for this reason even if they do not live in a transgender condition
Trans condition could involve distress and discomfort at not having the desired body traits and at being excluded from a specific gender role. The problem is: COULD THIS DISTRESS OF TRANS PEOPLE AFFECT THEIR ABILITY TO TAKE CARE AND RAISE OF CHILDREN? (MINORITY STRESS)
Few studies provide answers concerning these quesions Green (1978) “Available evidences does not support concerns that a parent’s transessualism directly adversely impacts on the children” “Sexual identity of thirty-seven children raised by homosexual or transsexual parents” – Am J Psychiatry 135; 692 -97 Green (1998) revised the matter but found nothing that required him to change that judgment
Di Ceglie (1998) underlines some problems ü It is important to consider the child’s age at the time he begins to be conscious of the parent’s gender dysphoria ü Considering the “selfishness” of transpeople: the transition process is often heavy and stressful event; it also has got a lot of influences on body image. What influence may have about being parenting? ü Considering the social stigma
SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS • 163 Mt. F • 62 Ft. M • Mean age Mt. F: 39 • Mean age Ft. M: 33
IN OUR EXPERIENCE • At the beginning of the transition process the idea of parenthood is idealized, as if actually being a woman or a man necessarily presupposes a desire to have a child. • At the end of the transition, after surgery, such desire in most cases becomes less urgent or disappears
WHY DOES THE DESIRE OF MOTHERHOOD / FATHERHOOD OFTEN DISAPPEAR?
WE THINK THAT… ü Our gender team was created only six years ago and the surgical team performed a small number of surgery of Ft. M (15 more or less) so the possibilities of being “father” are very small ü In Italy we think that it depends on the context which does not support and does not encourage non biological parenthood
CONCLUSION: PARENTHOOD The question is not «to be or not to be a transpeople» but TO BE OR NOT TO BE A GOOD PARENT.
CONCLUSION: PARENTHOOD As far as parenthood is concerned we should not just talk about RIGHT PARENTING but also about PARENTING DUTIES
CONCLUSION: PARENTHOOD • Everyone has the right to create a family regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity • No family should be discriminated because of on sexual orientation or gender identity of its members
FOOD FOR THOUGHT…. Robert Mapplethorpe Autoritratto, 1980 What does it mean to be good parents? Can each of us be a good parent regardless of being transsexual or not being?
I have to ask myself how my personal history may impact on growth and well-balanced development of my baby If I am a single mother or father or a mother with psychiatric problems or a carrier of some kind of disability I MUST ask myself about the effects that these characteristics may have on my baby So a good parent has to wonder if being a transperson can have some effects on the growth of his/her child JUST LIKE OTHER CONDITIONS OF LIFE.