Alex, a transgender man and parent, features in a new video encouraging other trans people to think about creating a family through adoption and fostering.
The film’s release coincides with LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week (6-12 March) in the UK.
‘Vulnerable children need to figure out their identity and trans people have done that already’
‘Resilience, tenacity, the ability to have a good laugh at yourself and do things you never imagined you might do but you’ll give it a try anyway,’ are among the qualities Alex says are important in becoming a parent.
‘Generally just being open to welcoming a total little stranger into your house and watching them turn your world upside down.
‘If you’re trans and you think you can’t adopt, think again.
‘The fact that you’ve come through transition and you’re now functioning in society quite happily means you’ve got a lot of resilience, a lot of tenacity and a lot of inner strength.
‘Vulnerable children need to figure out their identity and trans people have done that already.’’
‘It’s vital agencies reach out to everyone who identifies as LGBT’
New Family Social, a peer support charity for LGBTI people wishing to adopt of foster, created the video.
It points out that one in ten adoptions in 2016 in England were to same-sex couples, but that around 70,000 children remain in care. At least 9,000 foster carers are needed across the UK.
Tor Docherty, New Family Social Chief Executive said in a statement: ‘We’re delighted that the proportion of same-sex couples adopting in England rose to an all-time high last year.
‘But it’s vital that agencies also consider how they reach out to everyone who identifies as LGBT. We hope our latest film will help them to engage more trans people and support them through the process.’
It is unknown how many trans adopters there are in the UK. This information is not gathered by authorities. They only record whether children are adopted by single people, opposite-sex couples or same-sex couples.
James Lawrence, a spokesperson for New Family Social, said the organization had not heard of trans people being actively denied services because they are trans. However, it believes transgender people are sometimes put off from applying because they expect to be rejected.
‘I have heard of trans people concerned about disclosing their transition to social workers, and the expectation of discrimination once they’ve disclosed that.’
Lawrence said New Family Social has provided training to around 100 social workers on trans awareness. He also said many agencies they have engaged with are keen to be more trans inclusive.
‘It is key that you’re authentic and confident in your own identity’
From a legal standpoint, adoption and fostering agencies in the UK cannot discriminate against transgender applicants because they’re transgender.
Lawrence says there are reasons why it’s important to be open about being transgender when applying to adopt or foster.
‘If you’re trans then sharing that info with your personal adoption social worker is key as the worker acts as your advocate and must be able to identify the skills you will bring to parenting based on your life experiences.
‘As you’ll be parenting a child who will have a lot of questions around their own identity and background it is key that you’re authentic and confident in your own identity.’