Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Group for transgender youth begins Jan. 6

Adolescence and young adulthood can be difficult enough, but if you are a transgender person, you could be facing even more challenges.

Self-harm, suicidal thoughts, drugs and alcohol may be ways to cope when you are struggling with your gender identity, says Tim Veresh of Plea Community Services, who notes there are more positive ways to experience the journey.

The executive director of the Vancouver-based youth services agency says transgender youth are among the most vulnerable and social workers have identified several in the Tri-Cities who could benefit from strong support networks.

"We have been hearing from social workers [that] it's an issue. We've also been hearing it from our youth," Veresh said.

These young people don't identify with the gender they were born into and have trouble understanding their feelings — their parents may struggle, too.

Both could benefit from support and information from knowledgeable people and, to that end, Plea is starting two groups in the Tri-Cities, one for trans youth up to age 25 and another for their parents and caregivers. The idea is to provide social connections and a safe place to talk about issues of importance to the youth and their families.

"We want the participants to leave with knowledge and resources, perhaps to have them become mentors of other youth and for parents and caregivers to become trans youth advocates," he said.

The groups are free and open to anyone in the Fraser North area. Both groups will be held on the same evenings at the same location (separate rooms) on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. For more information and to register, email transsupport@plea.bc.ca or contact Jodi Mason at jmason@plea.bc.ca

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