Who we are & what we do
We are here to support one another – to help parents feel less isolated; to provide the tools to advocate for their child in school and within health services and to help parents to hear and understand their child’s distress.
Read on to find out more about how we came to be and how we might help you, too.
The group began in autumn 2019 when three parents who’d met online decided to meet in person. For convenience, we chose the area of Bayswater in London. By the time of our first meeting in October of that year, we’d become a group of twenty-five mums and dads: the Bayswater Support Group. We adopted a simple governing document as an ‘unincorporated association’. By the time we held our first AGM in early 2021 we’d grown to more than 200 members and we now number over 400.
We are strictly for parents and guardians of children and young adults who identify as trans or non-binary. We felt that the public discourse about gender-distressed young people was often occupied by people who weren’t directly impacted by the issue as we were, so we wanted parents to have a voice directly. We have members in all regions of England and in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Our members are overwhelmingly parents whose children are adolescents or young adults. They are at different stages of gender transition, and have different experiences of NHS services.
To see a robust framework for supporting families with a child, adolescent or young adult identifying as trans or gender distressed which allows for extensive exploration, without presenting the concept of transition (social or medical) as the first line solution and recognises that a transgender identity may be a manifestation of many underlying issues.
To provide evidence and experience-based peer support for parents with trans identified children. To provide additional services such as informed advocacy and education to state agencies, including schools, government and NHS services; signposting to therapists and strategies to support the family unit and child which take an exploratory, open-ended approach to resolving issues related to gender distress.
Our Core Values
We strive to be:
What We Offer
Helping fellow parents is our way of finding our way through our own difficulties and our members tell us how much being a part of the group has helped them. These are just some of the ways we can help parents with their own experiences of parenting a gender-distressed child.
We have held face to face meetings in Bristol, Cardiff, Edinbugh, Leeds, London and Swindon. We plan to increase the number and locations in the near future.
We hold a regular online meeting for general support and another specifically for parents of young adults. We are looking to run more specific support groups, tailored to particular groups of parents.
We organise professional-quality events involving specialists, attended not only by our parent members but also school leaders and mental health professionals.
All members receive our regular round-up of information, news and tips on supporting your child.
We are available to talk on the phone to members and applicants. Often it is the first time a parent has told their story and it can be an important moment for them.
We have a very active online forum, which is a great place to ask a question, read other members’ stories, and feel like you are not alone.
Our Letters, Statements and Submissions
We advocate for parents with many different educational, health and governmental bodies. Below you can read a selection of the letters, press statements and submissions we have sent on behalf of our members.
Read our blog for our latest hints, tips and commentary.
Miriam Cates: "It is not open minded or compassionate to tell a child that their teenage problems can be solved overnight by a rejection of their own body and a denial of their biological sex."Read More
Miriam Cates: "Vulnerable children - those who are autistic, or same-sex attracted or have other mental health conditions - latch on to gender theory as an explanation of why they might be different, why they don't fit in"Read More
Miriam Cates: "children are being told by trusted adults that if they are gender non-conforming [...] then that might mean they were born in the wrong body"Read More
Miriam Cates: "everyone of us has a unique personality but those who see everything through the lens of gender are watching humanity in black & white rather than through the glorious technicolour of the richness and variety of human nature"Read More
Social transitioning is a serious psychosocial intervention that can influence outcomes. Here, teachers were subjected to inexcusable abuse for following recommendations from the child's parent & therapist. Further evidence of the urgent need for guidance from @educationgovukRead More
We welcome media enquiries and are keen to represent the views of our members. We can comment on mental health, autism, impact on families, CAMHS, NHS gender clinics, the Cass Review and school policies.