My Research

My research is on parenting transgender, gender-creative, and/or gay children (primarily those under 12 years old).  My dissertation includes media analysis of television documentaries and news articles, content analysis of various parent blogs, as well as 27 interviews with parents and guardians. I am interested in how we think about gender and sexuality in children, particularly as we tend to think about gender identity and sexuality (or at least non-heterosexual sexualities) as pertaining to adult subjects. Yet children are declaring gender identities and sexual preferences at earlier and earlier ages, and parenting practices are shifting in regards to how parents and guardians react to these children.

Original Call for Participants 2014:

My name is Jessica Ann Vooris and I am a doctoral student in Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland.  I am recruiting parents and primary guardians for a qualitative interview study on transgender, gay, and gender-creative children.  This includes but is not limited to children who have been identified as transgender, gay, gender-creative, pink boys, gender-non-conforming, tomgirls, tomboys, gender-variant, gender-bending and/or princess boys, who are under the age of 12.  This study will contribute to knowledge about how parents understand their children’s gender expression and identity and/or sexuality, and the decisions that are made in regards to their expression and identities within their communities and public spaces.

If you volunteer you will be asked to participate in an interview, either in person or through Skype, for approximately 60-90 minutes about your experiences with your child, how you came to know about their different gender expression/identity and/or sexuality, and how you have navigated this within your family, and communities.

To be eligible you must be 18 years of age, reside in the United States, and be the parent or primary guardian of a child who is transgender, gay, gender-creative, a pink boy, princess boy, tomboy, gender-variant, gender-bending, tomgirl, etc.

For more information, or if you meet the above  eligibility criteria, and would be interested in participating, please contact me via email at

This project has been approved by the University of Maryland Institutional Review Board, which protects human subjects of research. As part of the study, I will provide confidentiality to all volunteers and participants will be referred to by a letter of the alphabet in all research documents.

This project is conducted with the supervision of my project advisor, Dr. Seung-kyung Kim. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact her via by telephone at 301-405-6877 or email:


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