Background


Gender Journeys was originally conceived at the Sherbourne Health Centre, and is part of their ongoing programming.

The foundation of this toolkit was the program led by Stacey Vetzal with Jennifer Bergman at the Oshawa Community Health Centre in 2013-2014. During that time, we ran 3 sessions and saw 30 people through, each time improving our resources, activities and approach. Since then contributions have been made by Stacey Vetzal with the permission of CMHA HKPR in order to update it with experiences and lessons learned through CMHA HKPR's program delivery under the Gender Journeys program.

“In 2010, I attended my first Gender Journeys group at Sherbourne, and it was a transformational experience for me. Through a local group that focused on providing a safe space for the crossdressing community, I had come to understand my own desire to transition, and I attended Gender Journeys as a means of coming to terms with who I was, and to learn what I needed to understand in order to facilitate whatever my transition might look like.

That group of 25 people helped me understand more about myself than I could have ever done on my own. It is often said that these days, with the Internet, it is easier for folks to learn about what being transgender is, and I disagree. Even if you sift through the noise and find legitimate information, reading about it is nothing like experiencing it. Sitting in a room, a safe space, with your peers, sharing the pain, sharing the hope, watching each others’ reactions, experiencing the diversity of the human experience, that is what Gender Journeys is about.

That group was the affirming experience I needed to begin my transition. Before I attended, I knew I needed to do something, but had a fragmented view of what that might be. The experience brought me to terms with how to begin, the mechanics of it, and brought me to a place of emotional peace from which I could move forward, not knowing all that would come, but confident that I had a community around me that I could lean on to get through it.”

Stacey Vetzal
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