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Gender Identity Services
Trans, non-binary and intersex people, as well as people questioning their gender, can avail of support and medical transition healthcare services at any age in Northern Ireland. There are currently two separate NHS services, one for children and adolescents, and one for adults. They are both based in Belfast.
Trans healthcare in Northern Ireland is available for everyone, provided you are not exempt from free healthcare. People with learning disabilities or mental illness are eligible for treatment, though additional support and assessment may be required.
Child & Adolescent Services
Knowing Our Identity is a service which supports trans and gender variant children and adolescents, up to the age of 18, across Northern Ireland. They accept referrals from Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) teams across NI, and can chat directly with parents, guardians and patients directly about referrals. If you are not known to CAMHS, you should talk with your GP for a referral.
Any child or adolescent who considers themselves transgender, non-binary, gender variant and/or is questioning their gender is welcome to seek a referral to KOI.
The preferred route of referral to KOI is through a local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Other professionals working with a young person such as in health, Social Services or education, as well as young people and their families, can also contact the service directly to discuss a possible referral.
The standard referral pathway is: GP CAMHS Team KOI
You should ask for a referral, via your CAMHS team, to:
- Knowing Our Identity
Foster Green Site,
110 Saintfield Road,
You can also contact KOI directly on 02890 638000.
What KOI Offer
KOI provide young trans and gender variant people with counselling, family and peer support, and mental health support services. Patients can also currently access hormonal treatments from age 15 and up, subject to assessment.
On the lead up to a patient’s 18th birthday, they can be transferred to the separate adult service. See below for details.
The Brackenburn Clinic is the name for the Regional Gender Identity & Psychosexual Service, and provides adults in Northern Ireland with assessment, psychological support and onward referral, where appropriate, for hormone replacement therapy and surgery.
Any adult (18 years old and older) who is experiencing gender dysphoria is welcome to seek a referral to Brackenburn Clinic via their GP or a mental health professional. Further information including how to seek a referral is available at the Brackenburn Clinic’s website. Additional information for patients is also available online.
You can not currently self-refer to this service.
You can get in touch via, or ask for a referral to:
- Brackenburn Clinic,
Knockbracken Healthcare Park,
- 028 9063 8854
- The clinic welcomes enquiries via email or telephone from anyone seeking further information or advice.
What Brackenburn Offer
The Brackenburn Clinic provides adults with comprehensive trans healthcare, from mental health support to hormone replacement therapy and surgery. After an initial assessment period, patients are usually offered referral to a variety of services, including but not limited to:
- Mental health support
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Speech & language therapy
- Fertility treatment (gamete storage)
- Laser hair removal
- Chest surgery
- Genital surgery
- Facial surgery
Most of these services are provided by other health service providers, and patients will typically be referred to them through the Brackenburn Clinic. Currently, there is no provider for most surgery in Northern Ireland, and as such most surgery is performed in England, funded by the NHS.
Appointments & Treatment
Generally, patients are offered an initial assessment appointment which documents your history, mental health and gender identity, which can be upwards of 2 hours. After this initial assessment, an ongoing assessment is typical, with appointments usually every month for at least 6 months. After the initial assessment, patients are usually offered physical healthcare interventions (see above). Ongoing appointments are usually every month, but can be more or less often as required. Patients can remain at the Brackenburn Clinic until they are satisfied they have availed of the services they need, or they no longer wish to engage.
The referral protocol for the Brackenburn Clinic is available online. You should contact the Clinic directly if you have any questions or concerns.
Guidelines & Standards of Care
The Brackenburn Clinic endeavours to follow the 2013 Royal College of Psychiatrists Good practice guidelines for the assessment and treatment of adults with gender dysphoria.
The Southeastern Health and Social Care Trust supported the production of a guide for trans young people in Northern Ireland, written by the community sector and consulted publicly. It contains detailed information on sexual health issues for trans and non-binary people, as well as support information specific to Northern Ireland.
The Terrence Higgins Trust has produced online guides on sexual health for trans people. These are available online at the THT website.
- Sexual health information for trans men & non-binary people assigned female at birth
- Sexual health information for trans women and non-binary people assigned male at birth
Sexual health services across Northern Ireland are generally welcoming of trans people – it’s important to get regular checkups of your sexual health, particularly if you are active in sexual relationships.