Transforming Family Law: Legal Education and Transgender Parents


FDRIO’s recent Unconference on May 4th introduced legal professionals to the perspective of LGBTQ+ parents in family law. Guest speakers touched on struggles faced by LGBTQ+ families in family law, including; fertility and what that means for coordinating parent access, child custody and parent decision making. With transgender parents, one or both parents might not be biologically connected to the child. Many transgender parents who are also part of LGBTQ+ community often value non -traditional family structures of more than two parents. These unique issues to transgender parents raise complex family law concerns. Often transgender parents also fear accessing legal services due to their transition. This is why LGBTQ+ safe spaces for legal advice, and guidelines for successful transgender allyship in professional legal practice are important.  

As we marked International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17th, read about new developments in family law for transgender parents.

An exciting program is available in Ontario to help transgender parents and children. The Trans Family Law Project helps keep transgender parents and their kids together, by providing family law information to transgender people province-wide.

The project, led by Dana Baitz, is also helping legal professionals become better prepared to offer family law services to transgender parents. The Trans Family Law Project has made resources for parents and legal professionals that are easily accessible. Their parents’ tip sheet gives basic family law information for transgender parents and their families. The Community Fact Sheet details facts and legal considerations that relate to transgender parents in Ontario. The fact sheet also includes a list of transgender friendly resources in Ontario. Legal professionals can gain helpful tips for representing transgender clients by referring to the Legal Backgrounder for on Trans Parents and Family Law in Ontario.

As part of the Trans Family Law Project, two sets of webinars are available through their website. The community webinars are made for transgender parents, transgender community members, and service providers to learn about family law.  Another webinar is tailored to lawyers, mediators, and other professionals in family law to learn specific legal strategies in order to better serve transgender parents.

The project looks like a promising foundation for providing essential services to transgender parents. As we look forward, lawyers, mediators and other service providers will need to be knowledgeable as they encounter more transgender parents with family law challenges.