Families in Transitions

By Agnès Condat, Kirsten Ellerby

If sexual identity is an experience unique to each individual, intimate yet also social, the expression of that identity, and in particular gender transition, is something that is experienced within a family. Indeed, it is in effect the family as a whole that is in transition. We might even say in transitions, plural. Since each individual member will have something to deal with that may potentially be a source of anxiety, as it will encroach on what was perceived of oneself in the other. Gender transitions can, at certain moments in a life, be associated with a ‟subjective crisis”, both for the trans’ person and their close relatives. This journey, although it may be painful and upsetting, also holds within it the same virtues as any crisis, that is to say, the virtue of causing the individual, and by extension their family and the wider society, to question themselves and open up to wider horizons. On the basis of the demands expressed by these families, and from a psychoanalytical perspective, we propose avenues of reflection based on clinical experience with people affected by these questions.


  • family
  • transidentity
  • transition
  • family crisis
  • psychoanalysis
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