RainbowYOUTH and OUTLine have announced that they will be partnering up after being contracted by the Northern Region District Health Boards (DHB) to provide peer-support services for transgender people as well as their friends and whānau in the Northland and Auckland regions.

The service will take a multi-faceted approach to service delivery and will include Peer Support Workers who are trained and work in a locally informed Intentional Peer Support model as well as training and managing volunteer peer supporters to lead peer support groups and running online information and social platforms.

The service is funded by the four northern region DHBs: Auckland, Waitematā, Counties Manukau and Northland, and is an outcome of the Hauora Tāhine: Pathways to Transgender Healthcare Services project.


RainbowYOUTH, who have been running peer support groups and developing peer support models since the organisation’s creation in 1989 say that the services will help address the growing need for support in the transgender and gender diverse communities.

“Our recent annual survey indicated that roughly half of the people who access 1:1 support and who disclose their identity are gender diverse,” says RainbowYOUTH Executive Director Frances Arns.

“This is a huge opportunity to help support gender diverse people and their whānau. We are incredibly proud to see the Northern Region DHBs investing in the wellbeing and health outcomes for our trans and gender diverse communities.”

RainbowYOUTH says that peer-support models have worked for them to help reduce the isolation of queer, gender diverse and intersex young people who access RainbowYOUTH. Additionally, it helps grow confidence and community.

“I cried during the name round a couple of times,” A young person who attended RainbowYOUTH’s existing transgender peer support group, Star*, admitted in a comment through RainbowYOUTH’s 2018 Annual Survey. “I cried…because it was so hard for me to accept that my gender was different to what I had expected my entire life, but everyone there completely understood what I was going through, and treated me with utmost kindness.”

RainbowYOUTH is partnering with fellow Auckland-based rainbow organisation OUTLine, who will run peer services for transgender people aged 28 and older.

“Many of our callers and counselling clients are trans, non-binary or gender diverse people from all parts of Aotearoa,” says OUTLine Chair Moira Clunie.

“Our services help people navigate the discrimination and exclusion they encounter in their lives, and connect with a positive sense of their own identity. Providing peer support – connection with people who have lived through similar experiences – is a key way that we do this. We are excited to be partnering with RainbowYOUTH and the DHBs to grow our capacity to support our gender diverse whānau in Auckland.”

RainbowYOUTH and OUTLine will launch the services later in the year including recruitment of three Peer Support Worker roles, which will be held by transgender and/or gender diverse people.

Bridget Farrant, Clinical Director, Counties Manukau Health Centre for Youth Health and Chair, Northern Region Transgender Clinical Governance Group says “The Northern Region DHBs are delighted to announce Rainbow YOUTH as the provider of the new transgender Peer Support service, in conjunction with OUTLine. This is an exciting new service development for people who are gender diverse and their whānau living in the Northland, Waitemata, Counties Manukau and Auckland DHB catchments.”

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