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Gender Journeys: Support Group & Outreach Work

Struggling with your gender identity/expression? Struggling with how others respond to you? No matter where you fall on the gender continuum Gender Journeys can help.

Gender Journeys support group is an all-inclusive community-based support group for individuals who identify at various points along the gender spectrum (e.g. transgender, gender-queer, gender nonconforming). We offer a safe and therapeutic space where members can process their thoughts and feelings about relevant issues associated with gender. The group also aims to facilitate physical, social and emotional impacts of gender transition and to create a space to foster community support and connection. It is a safe meeting place for all trans and gender diverse people who have undergone, or who are interested in accessing, gender-affirming medical care (or alternatives). Whether you are nervous about an upcoming surgery or hormones, want to share your wisdom, or just want to connect with other trans people moving through the medical system — all are welcome. Come meet other folks to chat, share resources and tips, and learn from each other.

The group is collectively run by participants, supported by facilitators. Some examples of discussion topics can include exploration of “coming out” challenges, exploring inquiries related to the process of transitioning, examining experiences of transphobia, identifying strategies for maintaining safety, and developing an identity-affirming support system.

The Gender Journeys Outreach Community Support Worker is here to provide confidential one-on-one support, referral and resources when needed. As an organization, we understand that finding a knowledgeable, “trans-positive” service provider—one who understands and supports the identity of transgender individuals—is extremely important in ensuring a transgender person receives proper care. Since many transgender folks struggle to find a place in our binary world, and are often targets of violence and oppression and are often segregated and isolated, a skilled practitioner is needed help vulnerable folks navigate, colonial, and systemically oppressive systems to ensure Gender Variant Folks can receive competent care. 

Improving our community’s health requires that health services be accessible and appropriate for all. However, Gender Variant folks are often reluctant to access health care due to the lack of services that affirm their gender and meet their needs in a holistic manner. Many who do access these services experience stigma and discrimination. Innovation and efficient and effective utilization of human resources are critical for health-system strengthening, and peer-driven delivery approaches are considered best practice to access, foster and provide responsive, quality health services to marginalized groups, including the trans community.

The role of our outreach worker includes:

  • Delivery of harm reduction & safer sex supplies, service information, and social supports;
  • Referring participants to other Peers programs and community resources as needed;
  • Providing client-centered advocacy regarding the medical, legal, police, housing & welfare service needs presented by participants; etc.;
  • Engage professionally and collaboratively with service recipients, colleagues, & partner agencies (via phone, via e-mail, & in person);
  • Our community support worker has a complex understanding of intersectionality and how things like racism, sexism, ableism, poverty and mental health affect the gender diverse community on a visceral level.

NFLA’s Gender outreach worker supports their clients to cope with the key issues the Gender diverse community commonly faces; namely stigma and discrimination; the consequences of non-conforming gender expression; scarce employment opportunities; the inadequacies of bio-medically focused HIV services, safety in sex work, homelessness and limited resource allocation for Trans and Gender Variant programming. Important challenges facing outreach services for the community here in Nanaimo include the uncertain funding landscape; limited interventions for socio-economic empowerment and harm reduction around substance use; and lack of access to hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery.

For more information please contact: ajay_booth@nflabc.org

Covid-19 Hours and Response

Our current hours of operation are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

We are open to the public on a limited basis. Only 2 people may be in the waiting room at a time. If full, please wait outside or in your car.

If you have any cold, influenza, or Covid-19 symptoms, you will not be permitted into the building.

We continue to practice social distancing. Please maintain 2 metres distance and face masks are encouraged.

Our counselling program continues to operate, offering sessions over the phone, online, and in person. Walk-in counselling is unavailable at this time. If you are in need of counselling support, please call us at (250) 754-3331 or email Mia at m_maarika@nflabc.org

If you are an older adult, aged 65+, looking for support at this time, please visit Safe Seniors, Strong Communities website.

Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Website