"This Whole Journey was Sacred": Latter-day Saint Parents' Process in Coming to Accept a Transgender Child
This grounded theory methodology (GTM) study examines the process of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in coming to accept a transgender or gender diverse (TGD) child. Data comes from interviews with 38 Latter-day Saint parents of TGD children and 130 Facebook posts from the same population. Data was analyzed using GTM in coding and theory construction. A model of Latter-day Saint parents' process in accepting a TGD child and the factors that impact that process is presented. The results indicate that coming to accept a TGD child tends to engage Latter-day Saint parents cognitively, emotionally, socially and spiritually, and is a developmental process. We identified four stages of parents' process: assimilation of new perspectives, deconstruction and disequilibrium, reconstruction and accommodation, and acceptance; as well as typical emotional responses in each stage. We found that factors which impacted parents' process included parents' pre-process characteristics and contexts, religiously defined meaning making, social embeddedness, external resources, community building, and spiritual autonomy. Additionally, we found that parents' commitment to their child's wellbeing and connection with their child (i.e., attachment) motivates their process and that their personal spiritual experiences tend to guide it. Parents in the study expressed that their process was both deeply challenging and profoundly spiritually meaningful. Theoretical grounding, clinical implications and recommendations for working with this population are given, as are future directions for research.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bernards, Julia Campbell, ""This Whole Journey was Sacred": Latter-day Saint Parents' Process in Coming to Accept a Transgender Child" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 9809.
transgender, parenting, developmental model, religion, attachment