The Information Practices of Parents of Transgender and Non-Binary Youth: An Exploratory Study

Maria Ortiz-Myers, Kaitlin L. Costello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this article, we report the results of an exploratory pilot study intended to capture the experiences of parents of transgender (trans) or non-binary youth. Library and information science researchers have spent little time exploring the phenomenon of family information practices. This context provides an opportunity to further theorize how social dynamics impact information practices. Seven parents of six trans or non-binary young people under twenty-five years old participated in semistructured interviews. Questions probed parents’ information work around gender identity, their emotions, and parent-child information exchanges. Results indicate that parents’ information needs are shaped by emotion and awareness of transphobia and the abuse often directed at trans and non-binary youth. A commitment to be supportive motivates parents’ attributions of authority. Parents rely on various information sources but prize the experiential knowledge of other trans people and their supporters particularly. These encounters elicit parents’ work toward a new understanding of gender broadly and their child’s gender specifically. Parents take on information proxy and mediary roles and collaborate with their trans or non-binary children to gather and manage information. Parents’ interactions with information in this context reflect sociocultural attitudes and ideas of power and authority, serve cognitive and affective needs, are situated in time and place, and are dependent on enacted, embodied realities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-132
Number of pages28
JournalLibrary Trends
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


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