31 March 2021
Today shines a light on the accomplishments of trans people globally and fights against transphobia by spreading knowledge and understanding of the trans community.
UK Youth is committed to social justice and equality and we are committed to diversity and inclusion in our work and across our programmes, in line with the UK Youth Equal Opportunities Policy. Our single-gender programmes are open to young people who are biologically female or male (under the protected characteristic of sex) and those whose gender identity is a girl/woman or boy/man (under the protected characteristic of gender reassignment).
Gender-diverse young people are best supported by affirming adults and peers. The more areas of their life where a trans or gender-diverse young person can be treated with respect, with their names and pronouns used as they ask for them to be, the better the outcomes for the individual.
Unfortunately, there is no robust data around the number of trans people in the UK, but we know gender diversity is an important topic for young people. Children and young people coming out as transgender, those unsure whether they might be, and those who support them, often require guidance or advice in specific areas. Today we’ll meet some fantastic organisations that are dedicated to helping gender diverse young people.
Mermaids were formed by a group of parents who discovered their children’s experiences around gender had a lot in common. In the beginning, the organisation focused on helping parents to share support and information, but it quickly grew to be much more than that. Over the years, Mermaids has helped empower trans young people and their families.
Susie Green, Mermaids CEO told us; “The way society understands gender is changing for the better. A growing number of people and organisations understand that gender diversity is understood, embraced and supported. Some present trans people as a challenge to other identities and who question whether young people should be encouraged to express who they are, but we see an encouraging shift towards kindness and understanding.”
“We directly support young people via our online forums, web-chat and helpline services. We also offer online and community-based events that allow young people to socialise with others with similar experiences. It allows young people to explore their gender without judgement or expectation and in a safe setting.”
In recent years, Mermaids has become an influential advocate for political and social change, representing and amplifying trans and gender-diverse young people in legal, political and social progress. Learn more about Mermaids here.
Gendered Intelligence (GI) is the largest trans-led, trans-community organisation in the UK. They actively fight for trans rights and protections through campaigns, policy work and workplace training. They offer one-to-one and group support for families and young people between 8-30. They also in groups for trans-feminine young people and trans youth of colour.
“GI does a lot of work to support us trans youth and this kind of attentive care to younger members is invaluable. Attending trans youth groups run by trans people is life-changing and irreplaceable”, one young trans person of colour shared. “I’ve found a community and people who have my back. I didn’t realise there could be such spaces where we speak to each other with such kindness and compassion. That has really helped me with my self-compassion and kindness.”
The organisation runs a number of events every year, from Trans Pride Brighton to camping trips, and in 2020 they hosted their first digital residential.
Sabah Choudrey, Activist and Head of Youth Services told us more about the organisation’s work and how they adapted to the pandemic. “Our digital residential and growing online groups really helped build community and combat loneliness. Strangely, all these challenges have bought us closer together. And we know how to do solidarity – we’ve been doing it for years. Everything we do is centred around the communities we exist to serve, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Find Gendered Intelligence online and for any youth work enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kite Trust (TKT) creates spaces where young people affirm their identities and talk about how they feel and ask questions in a non-judgemental space. They provide young people with a listening ear and signpost them to information and other support services depending on their challenges.
All the organisations programmes are youth led, with young people shaping the activities they want to do at groups and on residentials and setting their own goals to work towards through individual support.
Pip Gardner, Chief Exec at The Kite Trust, said, “I’m now 30, and when I was growing up, I didn’t have the language to describe my identity; it was only about five years ago that I came across the term non-binary and found that it really fitted with how I felt.
Thanks to the increasing visibility of trans role models, many more young people now have access to the language and examples they’re looking to make sense of their feelings and experiences, which helps them find community and address the isolation some might feel.”
A 16-year-old supported by the organisation said, “The Kite Trust has helped me a lot this year. They have helped me make friends, gain confidence, find out how I label myself in terms of my gender identity, and so much more.”
The Kite Trust offers support to young people across the whole of Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and surrounding areas. Find out more here.
These organisations, and many other organisations nationally can answer questions, provide support to parents, and offer advice and training to professionals who work with young people.