New peer-support services for transgender people and whaanau

Image supplied by RainbowYouth

Latest News - 04 September 2019 | Transgender people and their whaanau in Northland and Auckland will benefit from new peer support services contracted by the Northern Region DHBs and managed by CM Health.

“The Northern Region DHBs are delighted to announce Rainbow YOUTH as the provider of the new transgender Peer Support service, in conjunction with OUTLine,” says Bridget Farrant, Clinical Director, Counties Manukau Health Centre for Youth Health and Chair, Northern Region Transgender Clinical Governance Group

“This is an exciting new service development for people who are gender diverse and their whaanau living in the Northland, Waitemata, Counties Manukau and Auckland DHB catchments”.

Trained peer support workers and volunteers will lead peer support groups and run online information and social platforms. Peer-support models help reduce the isolation, grow the confidence and community of queer, gender diverse and intersex peoples.

RainbowYOUTH Executive Director Frances  Arns says the service, which has been running  support groups and developing peer support models since the organisation’s creation in 1989, will help address the growing need for support in the transgender and gender diverse communities.

“Our recent annual survey indicated that roughly half of the people who access 1:1 support and who disclose their identity are gender diverse,” says Ms Arns.

“This is a huge opportunity to help support gender diverse people and their whaanau. We are incredibly proud to see the Northern Region DHBs investing in the wellbeing and health outcomes for our trans and gender diverse communities.”

 OUTLine Chair Moria Clunie agrees.

"Our services help people navigate the discrimination and exclusion they encounter in their lives, and connect with a positive sense of their own identity. Providing peer support – connection with people who have lived through similar experiences – is a key way that we do this. We are excited to be partnering with RainbowYOUTH and the DHBs to grow our capacity to support our gender diverse whaanau in Auckland,” says Ms Clunie.

“I cried during the name round a couple of times,” a young person who attended RainbowYOUTH’s existing transgender peer support group, Star*, admitted in a comment. “I cried because it was so hard for me to accept that my gender was different to what I had expected my entire life, but everyone there completely understood what I was going through, and treated me with utmost kindness”.

The services will commence in October.

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