16 Jul 2019

Transgender and gender diverse support services get funding boost

6:09 pm on 16 July 2019

Transgender and gender diverse people in the Northland and Auckland regions will soon be able to access DHB funded peer-support services provided by two of the country's longest running rainbow organisations.

A couple holding hands on a couch.

Photo: The Gender Spectrum Collection

The services, provided by Rainbow Youth and OUTLine, will include the recruitment of three peer-support worker roles, which will be held by people who identify as transgender and/or gender diverse.

They will be aided by trained volunteers who will lead peer support groups in these regions.

The peer support services will be available to people of all ages and are funded by the Auckland, Waitematā, Counties Manukau and Northland DHBs.

Rainbow Youth says peer-support models have worked to help reduce the isolation of queer, gender diverse and intersex young people who access the organisation.

According to the recent annual survey, roughly half of all people who access one on one support, and who disclose their identity, are gender diverse, says Rainbow Youth executive director Frances Arns.

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

The Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Discrimination Experienced by Transgender People in 2008 confirmed that trans people face significant discrimination in day to day life.

Dr Jaimie Veale, principal investigator of a community-led health survey for trans and non-binary people living in New Zealand, due to be released later this year, said preliminary results show very high rates of mental health problems among participants.

OUTLine chair Moira Clunie says many of the callers to the organisation's phone counselling service were trans or gender diverse people.

"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."

Rainbow Youth, which this year celebrated its 30th birthday, supports queer, gender diverse and intersex youth and their friends and whānau. OUTLine, operating since 1972, provides counselling for people within the rainbow communities.

The service is one of the outcomes of the Hauora Tāhine: Pathways to Transgender Healthcare Services project.

It will launch later in the year.

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