The largest resource for trans people and parents of trans people of all ages is TransCare BC. They are an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority (the provincial government healthcare provider), and an excellent first stop for those looking for information and services. www.phsa.ca/transcarebc
To highlight some sections of particular significance:
Also on this page:
Peer Support Groups
Pride Related Organizations Around the Okanagan
Common Resource Questions
Peer Support Groups
TransCare BC has a province-wide listing of peer support groups here.
For those in Kelowna, we can recommend:
Etcetera Youth Group
The Bridge Youth and Family Services
Kelowna, British Columbia, V1Y 7Y5
The youth group is a is a weekly, facilitated program where youth ages 10-13 and 14-18 who identify as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning), and their allies, can meet and make lasting friendships with supportive peers. The name “Etcetera” reflects the diversity of the youth who participate in the program, including those whose identities are more varied and expansive than what could ever be described in an acronym.
Okanagan Gender Identity Group (OGIG)
This is a low barrier and inclusive space for trans, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, gender-queer, intersex and gender questioning people living in Kelowna or the surrounding area to discuss various topics while providing and obtaining peer support.
Group meetings are currently held on Discord every Tuesday from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM to maintain safe distance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are interested in attending the group, it is accessible via their Facebook group. As this is a closed facebook group, its resources are only accessible once you answer the membership questions. Once your membership is approved, you will be able to access the Discord server where the weekly peer support meetings are held.
The minimum age is 16, however if you find yourself in a situation where you need support, please do not hesitate to reach out. No one is turned away, and OGIG can help direct you towards age-appropriate resources if need be.
For those in Vernon, we can recommend
Vernon LGBT Youth Drop-In (VAST)
Vernon Boys and Girls Club
3104 37th Ave
Vernon, British Columbia, V1T 2Y2
A safe space for youth and allies ages 16 - 25. This is a fun and informative group that offers facilitator and peer support in a welcoming environment.
Pride Related Organizations around the Okanagan
Kelowna Pride https://www.kelownapride.com
South Okanagan Pride https://www.sospride.ca
UBC Okanagan Pride Resource Centre https://www.ubcsuo.ca/services-prc
UBC Okanagan Equity & Inclusion Office https://equity.ok.ubc.ca
Common Resource Questions
How does getting on hormones work?
TransCare has an information page on hormones here: www.phsa.ca/transcarebc/hormones
For adults and older youth, any general practitioner or family doctor can prescribe hormones themselves if they feel they have adequate knowledge and/or in consultation with TransCare’s Rapid Access to Care Expertise line. For younger youth, a readiness assessment is generally conducted by a psychiatrist or psychologist and hormones are prescribed and monitored by a pediatric endocrinologist.
How can I get gender-confirming surgery?
TransCare has an information page on gender-confirming surgeries here: www.phsa.ca/transcarebc/surgery
Gender-confirming surgery is generally only available for those 18 or older, but top surgery may be available for youth depending on the assessment of your care team.
How can I change ID/driver’s license/legal paperwork to reflect gender identity and/or name?
See TransCare BC’s guide here: www.phsa.ca/transcarebc/care-support/transitioning/id-name-change
Trans students at UBC Okanagan can change their “preferred name”, which appears on class lists, Canvas, UBC Student Housing, and UBCcard, by following the instructions here. There is no requirement for legal paperwork to do this, and preferred name need not match any legal or other name. students.ok.ubc.ca/courses-money-enrolment/preferred-name-change They can also change their gender marker by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I get voice training in Kelowna?
Shera Kelly offers voice lessons for the trans community. Shera has studied in the States with Jeanie Lovetri (Somatic Voicework Level 3) and has done workshop training with speech language pathologist Anita Kozan (Singing and Speaking for the transgender or non-binary client). She has worked with students ages 4 - 70 and from varied backgrounds and levels of training. Her personal music background is mostly in pop and indie folk singing and improvisational singing. She's happy to offer references as well and can be reached at sherakellyvoice.com
What trans services are available for students at UBC Okanagan?
UBC Okanagan has two major providers of services for trans students: the UBC Okanagan Pride Resource Centre and the UBC Okanagan Equity & Inclusion Office. The former is a student-led group and part of the UBC Student Union Okanagan, and provides safe spaces and events for students in the LGBTQ+ community. The latter is an office within the UBC Okanagan administration responsible for handling all equity-related issues, including but not limited to issues relating to LGBTQ+ students.
NP Paulina Niechcial at UBCO Student Health Services' “Trans Care Management” can provide HRT assessments, starts, and maintenance and is currently taking trans care training to provide surgical assessments as well. UBCO Students can call the clinic for an intake at (250) 807-9270 or find more information at https://students.ok.ubc.ca/health-wellness/student-health-clinic/.
What trans services are available for students at Okanagan College?
Okanagan College's trans services are coordinated through their Positive Space Committee. This is how they describe themselves:
Okanagan College’s Positive Space Committee challenges the patterns of silence that continue to marginalize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit and queer students, staff and faculty even in environments with anti-discriminatory and inclusive policies. It proactively creates opportunities to foster constituent awareness and engagement and promotes inclusion of LGBT2QIA+ persons in every area of campus life. The Positive Space Committee exists to prevent particular negative occurrences from arising and to respond when they do occur. For students or community inquiry please contact Jewell Gillies (they/them), Positive Space Committee founder and Chair at email@example.com
What trans services are available for students in School District #23?
Services and GSA/Pride organizations generally vary by school; please contact your/your child's principal using the SD23 directory for more information.
SD23 has a district-wide policy regarding Discrimination Towards and By Students as it Pertains to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. It specifies that "any form of discrimination, intimidation or harassment against any person based on gender or sexual orientation" is prohibited and "members of the school community [are expected] to welcome, include and support all others regardless of their gender or sexual orientation". If you feel that you/your child are/is not being respected, contact the Superintendent or a School Trustee. You can also contact us and we can help advocate with or on behalf of you.