EnGendering inclusive practice: exploring trans people’s experiences of adoption and fostering in England and Wales

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis presents the findings of a narrative inquiry exploring the lived experiences and perceptions that trans and non-binary people have in relation to adopting or fostering a child in England and Wales. Since the 1950s, adoption and fostering agencies have acted as ‘gatekeepers’, deciding who is deemed a suitable parent/carer and who is not. Adoption and fostering agencies have tended to espouse gender normative views in their practices. This amounts to covert discrimination as these practices disadvantage people who identify outside of normative frameworks of gender. This research addresses a gap in the research, bringing trans people’s voices into fostering and adoption social work in England and Wales. The results of ten in-depth semi-structured interviews are examined. These include eight trans people who have adopted/fostered or who hope to adopt/foster and two social workers who have been involved in recruiting, assessing or supporting trans carers. Narratives of personal identity, family, fostering and adoption are explored within this thesis and analysed using a theoretical framework which includes cisgenderism, stigma and discourses of power to explicate the sociology of trans people’s experiences. Cisgenderism was found to operate in different ways upon different experiences, hindering the life and family opportunities of trans and non-binary people. The negative effects of cisgenderism could be especially pronounced for those whose identities did not align with a binary designation of gender. Findings and conclusions are used to make recommendations for good practice in social work and to suggest future research directions.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Sheffield
  • Rogers, Michaela, Supervisor, External person
Award date10 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022


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