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Trans outreach

Planning to help trans youth

Egale Canada is reaching out to trans-identified youth as part of its Trans Equality Campaign.

Last month, the federal lobby group kicked off a three-month study to help develop a national strategic plan for Canadian trans youth.

The project, led by Carleton University GLBT Centre Programming Director Darryl Lim – a college placement student this semester at Egale – will focus on ways to enhance trans youth visibility and involvement in Egale’s advocacy work.

To gather the information required for the project, Lim has created a questionnaire for trans youth age 18-25. The survey was developed with the assistance of Jessica Freedman, newly-elected chair of Egale’s Trans Issues Committee, who is working closely with Lim on the project.

“This is an opportunity for trans youth to come and voice their opinion,” says Lim.

The survey, which takes about 30 minutes to complete, is available online at www.egale.ca or by e-mailing Lim at Darryl@egale.ca until Feb 18.

Lim says the information gathered from the survey’s respondents, as well as three Ottawa-area focus groups that are participating in the project, will help in the development of a “trans youth action pamphlet.”

“The pamphlet is really going to focus on strategies to mobilize and organize trans issues campaigns – by youth for youth – tools and tips that are practical in nature, more than just ‘this is what transgendered is,'” explains Lim. “This is a pamphlet to share resources… basically, Activism 101.”

Lim expects the trans youth survey’s final results will be released sometime this summer.

In addition to Egale’s trans youth work, Ottawa-based counsellor Helma Seidl currently is conducting her own online survey that she hopes will increase “understanding of transgenderism, the transgender individual’s experience, and their well-being and quality of life.”

Seidl says the information gathered during the national study will be used “to inform and improve the quality of the education and training” that social workers and health care providers (both medical and mental) receive regarding trans-related issues.

The survey, part of Seidl’s doctoral study at McGill University, is open to “all of the people who fall under the transgender umbrella,” including those who identify as transgendered, transsexuals, hermaphrodite/intersex or bi-genders, “gender-benders,” cross-dressers and “any androgynous individuals who do not conform to society’s gender stereotypes.”

Seidl adds that she will be collecting responses until the end of February, at which time she will begin to conduct one-on-one interviews with a select group of respondents.