Exploring trans people’s experiences of adoption and fostering in the United Kingdom: A qualitative study

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Trans people’s voices have routinely been silenced or subsumed within research on adoption or fostering by lesbian, gay and bisexual people. The lack of inclusion of trans people within adoption and fostering research and practice not only disadvantages trans carers, but also children needing foster and adoptive homes. The present paper addresses the need to bring the experiences of trans carers to the forefront of adoption and fostering research.

The study sought to explore the experiences of trans people in relation to adoption and fostering in the United Kingdom.

A narrative inquiry was conducted using in-depth, semi-structured interviews and inductive thematic analysis to examine the subjective experiences of individuals who are trans or non-binary. Participants were recruited via purposive and snowballing sampling methods; using fliers sent via email to community groups and centres, social media and research network advertisement. People were eligible to take part if they were resident in the United Kingdom, over twenty-one years, and had adopted/fostered or applied/planned to apply to adopt or foster. Eight participants were included in this research, representing a variety of genders and ages.

The thematic analysis resulted in the development of five themes: 1) Motivation to adopt or foster, 2) Perceived institutional barriers to pursuing adoption or fostering, 3) Experiences of cisgenderism in assessment, 4) Experiences of cisgenderism at placement, and 5) Positive experiences and recommendations.

The findings highlighted the impact that cisgenderism can have in the context of adoption and fostering, whereby multiple barriers exist that impact trans and non-binary people interested in adoption and fostering. It is suggested that effective training should be implemented to increase understanding of gender diversity and address gender barriers in adoption and fostering social work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Transgenderism
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2021

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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