Community Counselling & Resource Centre

Gender Journeys receives $648,700 from Province to keep program going in Peterborough

https://www.mykawartha.com/news-story/8130810-gender-journeys-receives-648-700-from-province-to-keep-program-going-in-peterborough/

February 12th, 2018

If it wasn’t for the Gender Journeys program, Zoey Carey says she probably wouldn’t be here today.

Three years ago, Carey was looking for help — a place to go to find answers about herself.

She discovered the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Gender Journeys program which she says opened her eyes to the possibility of “actually being happy in my body.”

Carey spoke candidly about her journey during a press conference on Monday where funding details for the CMHA program were revealed. The Province has pledged, through the Ontario Trillium Grow Grant, to give $648,700 to the Gender Journeys program.

The money will make sure the program remains in place to provide education and support services for transgender, two-spirit, gender diverse and individuals who are questioning their gender identity.

“I’ve known for a long time this was who I was. I’ll be 35 this year and when I was younger it was really hard; it was not something that was talked about. It was a very negative thing before,” says Carey.

“After I got married, had kids and had the house…there was always something missing. I always knew I was different on the inside.”

Carey says she went through a dark point in her life before joining the Gender Journeys program. She had lost a parent due to depression and didn’t want to put her own child through that ordeal.

The program and support she received from the CMHA helped her through that time. Carey is now an education and support worker with CMHA, who is there to help others, much like she was helped.

“It (the program) is going to make trans people more visible and with visibility…it knocks down that stigma. Less of a stigma there is, more people will come around. The more people know about this group the more people will come out,” says Carey.

MPP Jeff Leal says providing funding for the Gender Journeys program is important for the Peterborough community.

“This program will ensure socially-isolated transgender individuals have the supports they need to be connected and engaged themselves throughout the community,” he adds.

Mark Graham, CEO of the local CMHA branch, says the Trillium grant will help build on the program’s success after it began with a seed grant in 2015.

“We hope to build on reducing social isolation and providing equitable access to primary health care for the transgender community,” says Graham.

According to the CMHA, transgender and gender diverse individuals experience significant social isolation as a result off complex factors including stigma, internalized transphobia, discrimination, familial rejection, a lack of adequate supports, limited access to trans-sensitive healthcare and knowledgable service providers.

The Gender Journeys program is designed to address these problems. The program’s objectives include providing meaningful, ongoing peer-to-peer connections for trans people; providing support for strong, more resilient family and ally networks; and helping community members, service providers and employers support inclusive, sensitive and identity-affirming environments.

The longterm goal of Gender Journeys is to make sure transgender individuals are supported to develop ongoing social connections with their peers, families, allies, service providers and employers.

For more information about the Gender Journeys program visit www.cmhahkpr.ca.