Throughout lockdown, we at TransgenderNI/The BTRC/ Genderjam have been continuing to support the trans community in Northern Ireland in a way that keeps both our staff and service users as safe as possible. We want to give everyone an update of the current status of our services via the BTRC and GenderJam, and the services we provide.
We want to make sure that we can continue to operate, but we also want to be transparent about our current situation. We have found ourselves at very low capacity due to a number of factors, including a mass increase in need of support, and so our work is very limited at this current time. We will continue to support our community as much as we can. For those who have been looking to get in touch with us looking for support, we thank you for your patience and we will try to be in contact as soon as possible.
Due to low capacity within GenderJam as a youth service under TransgenderNI we have had very limited availability to host our services. This includes:
- Face to face events/youth groups
- One to one support/advocacy
- Binder Scheme
For these reasons, GenderJam will be on hiatus until further notice. We want to recognise and apologise to those who have been trying to access support through GenderJam specifically. We will continue to work on this capacity issue and are aiming to get GenderJam up and running once again after solving our capacity issues.
From March 2020 GenderJam’s face to face groups have been put on hold for the safety of our staff and our service users including any of the Belfast Trans Resource Centres face to face events or services. For updates on when the BTRC will be reopening please feel free to access the BTRC’s social media or website: https://belfasttrans.org.uk/
One to one support/advocacy for under 25’s have been primarily conducted through the work of TransgenderNI rather than GenderJam due to lack of capacity. Due to our current lack of capacity, individual one-to-one support will be limited for the time being.
We recognise that there have been many individuals that have been waiting to hear back or receive a binder from our scheme. We have found that our usual providers have had a lack of stock in many sizes including our most popular and so we have not been able to provide these to those on our waiting list. We apologise to those who have been waiting or requesting binders for ourselves. We will continue to work on this and try to update on this issue as soon as we can.
Though we have not been able to open the Belfast Trans Resource Centre since March 2020, we have been able to transfer our safe space online through the BTRC Discord server, making sure that our community can still connect with each other and avail of our support without putting lives at risk. With our various text channels and voice-chat events, such as drop-ins, video games and movie nights, we want to ensure that we can still keep the community as connected as possible, even if it isn’t face to face.
As TransgenderNI, we will be focusing on some particular areas of support, as outlined below.
- Health care advocacy and support: We can provide advocacy and advisory support surrounding trans health care within Northern Ireland. This can range from support within NHS gender Identity clinics, private clinics and shared care services. We can advocate for you within services to make sure that the care that you are receiving is what you need/want by working with you and the services.
- Policy work: We can provide consultancy to organisations and statutory authorities drafting trans inclusion policies and seeking to include trans staff and service users in their policies and procedures (contact email@example.com). We are continuing to work on areas of policy development affecting trans communities in NI, including the accessibility of gender affirming healthcare, the funding of support services for trans communities, gender recognition, gendered violence, housing, welfare, and other areas.
- General advocacy and support: If you are someone who has needs for our advocacy on the issues of gender recognition, gendered violence, housing, welfare, schooling, or other areas that involve interfacing with service providers, companies, or other organisations, we will do our utmost to support you with those – due to capacity limitations, we may not be able to offer the same level of support we may have in the past. Other types of one-to-one support that we have provided in the past will unfortunately not be available due to the capacity for the time being.
- Trans awareness training: We will continue to provide training sessions to organisations and companies. Visit our training page to view our training services.
For now we advise those who would like to avail of the services that we are still offering to continue to feel able to email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will respond as we are able to. For those who would have accessed GenderJam’s services, we would direct you to that same email address.
We want to thank everyone for their support and patience during this time. We are so grateful for those who have been supporting us through this past year, and want to thank you for your understanding as we navigate this difficult situation.