Alyx, co-founder of Gender Spectacular, established the program in 2016 as part of their school practicum and after noticing there was a lack of community and support services for parents of trans children.
The program quickly evolved from a parent support group to including family drop-in sessions and events; giving both parents and their children a safe place to meet, socialize and access resources. Monthly support meetings are facilitated by a trans person and a parent, and trans adult mentors participate in free play with children during family drop-ins.
“We have families travelling from across Southern Vancouver Island to come to our drop-in groups,” said Alyx. “Every month we have at least three new families getting in touch to learn more about how we support families and so we know there is a growing need.”
Since its inception, Gender Spectacular has received funding from Trans Care BC, allowing the program to provide food, childcare subsidies, bus tickets and honorariums to volunteers spearheading its initiatives. Alyx says that not only has Trans Care BC lifted a huge financial burden, but they’ve also been a valuable resource as the program established its network of support. Other supporting partners include Saanich Parks and Recreation and Saanich Neighbourhood Place.
This is the first year Gender Spectacular will not have to apply for funding from Trans Care BC – and it’s a good thing. From the beginning it was Alyx’s hope that the program would ultimately be sustained by its community. The program has now adopted a community-based mutual aid model so it no longer needs to be dependent on funding from external sources.
“Our families and their communities have been so generous in supporting Gender Spectacular,” said Alyx. “The kindness and keenness we’ve encountered has been nothing short of inspiring and we are so hopeful for our future.”
Gender Spectacular actively reaches out to communities by building relationships with local family programs, and by attending school district meetings and youth service provider networks. Alyx says that connections often happen when least expected, which is why they created business cards for parents of trans children.
“Connections are sporadic and happen quickly. We created business cards for parents so they can connect with others in a subtle way that invites others to reach out if they need someone to talk to.”
In its fourth year, Gender Spectacular has supported more than 50 families and has a growing list of more than 200 people who have reached out. The program is now starting to see its members evolve from children to youth who are taking action and advocating for their needs and the needs of other trans, gender creative, non-binary, and Two-Spirit children and youth in their communities. Visit the Gender Spectacular website
for more information about Gender Spectacular, or to participate in programs.
About Trans Care BC's Peer & Community Support program
Trans Care BC works alongside peers and community members to improve equitable access to information, resources, and supports for peer-led and gender-affirming support services across British Columbia. The program defines "peer" as trans, gender diverse, and Two-Spirit community members including children, youth, and adults, as well as their parents/caregivers, families, and loved ones. Peer support refers to the emotional and practical support and connection between people who share a common experience. Peer support provides an enriching opportunity to engage in knowledge exchange, resource sharing, social connection, mentorship, and personal growth.
Trans Care recognizes that community partners, such as non-profit organizations and support service agencies, play an important collaborative role in supporting the development and sustainability of community peer supports. Learn how Trans Care BC
helps connect British Columbians to gender-affirming and wellness supports as close to home as possible.