Many children express their gender in creative and expansive ways, and this is very normal childhood behaviour. Some children are more consistent, insistent and persistent over time in letting parents and others know that they have been assigned the wrong gender at birth. For all children, having safe and supportive environments where they feel they can be themselves as they develop are important factors in promoting health and well-being.
A small portion of gender creative and gender expansive children may be transgender and may require assessment and ongoing psychological and medical support as they approach puberty in order to explore gender affirming health care options.
Trans Care BC is working to enhance timely and affirming care. Each child and family has unique issues to consider when determining the best pathway for them. While many families may still need to seek care from specialists, some families are better served close to home in primary care and/or pediatrician settings. Trans Care BC is working to build up trans and gender diversity cultural safety at all points of the care journey so that, in the future, families will be able to more easily find GPs and other health care providers who can support their care journey, whatever it may be.
Trans Care BC is working with BC service providers to clarify pathways for families of trans, gender diverse, Two-Spirit and gender creative children and youth who need support and access to services. Trans Care BC has a Care Coordination Team with health navigators who assist clients and families in navigating care.
PHSA is working towards a standard model and care pathways for trans, gender creative and gender expansive children and youth. A collaborative practice leader has been hired by Trans Care BC, to support the creation of provincial guidelines, standards of care, and educational strategies for children and families who require it. This work is done in partnership with the clinicians and other child and youth service providers in BC, BC Children's Hospital, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Ministry of Education and other child and youth serving resources. A Family network consultant has also been hired to work with parents and caregivers around the province to plan regional and provincial peer support and engagement networks with and for families of gender creative, Two-Spirit, trans youth and children.
We are committed to regional family and community engagement in each health authority and we are also keen to have families more involved in plans for future engagement both locally and provincially. In the coming year, we will be traveling to local communities across the province to consult directly with parents, to learn about local needs and to inform planning for a provincial family event in 2017.