AUDIO | Society still isn’t built to be accepting of people who don’t identify as their gender assigned at birth. But attitudes are starting to change for the better. Things like government forms and identification, too, are beginning to include gender identities other than male and female. But the journey to becoming comfortable with your gender that some of us need to take can still feel like a mystery.

“Hearing other people use they/them pronouns for me … it just feels like how people talking and using pronouns was supposed to feel. It just feels comfortable, and it feels validating.”  — Casey Brisson, Gender Journeys support group facilitator

The Gender Journeys support group, offered by Nanaimo Family Life Association (NFLA) shows people still discovering their gender identity that it is possible to live as the person you know you are, and how to do that.

Now the NFLA’s Gender Journeys program is working to do even more to support trans and gender-questioning folks in the Nanaimo area, with support from United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island, through the federal government’s Emergency Community Support Fund. A former facilitator of the Gender Journeys support group, Sarah is a trans woman who has worked as a support worker for seven years. Now, she’ll offer a new support to the community as the Gender Journeys outreach worker.

“A lot of us kind of find ourselves out there in the wild, so to speak. We are not a part of the dominant culture, and it’s a kind of an unwritten choose-your-own-adventure, which is wonderful, and every choice is valid. But certainly some help in knowing what the options are, some help with direction or getting other help that is available that we might not know about, that’s what I’m hoping to provide.”  — Sarah Cameron, Gender Journeys outreach worker

A third component — training and education for service providers, health care workers and counsellors to become better equipped to support trans people — will be added to the Gender Journeys program in the coming months.

Gender Journeys outreach worker Sarah Cameron and program manager Anne Taylor spoke with People First Radio. Listen and/or download below.

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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.

Images: iStock