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Ireland’s transgender children: Where to go for help and support

“There’s all this history. There are all these pictures of him growing up as a kid,” says Diane, mother of 15-year-old transboy Richie. “I’m still trying to figure out how I can look at those pictures and see them in a way where I don’t feel a loss or grief.”

Even the most accepting, supportive parents grieve the loss of the son or daughter who never was – and face a multiplicity of other personal and institutional challenges. Last October, to support each other through the often challenging experience of having a trans child, about 20 families, including some aunts, uncles and grandparents, attended a residential weekend held by Transgender Equality Network Ireland.

“The medical profession has a tendency to make you feel you are so odd, one in a million,” says one parent, who has asked to be called Joan. “Then you walk into a room full of other parents just like you, who have gone through similar experiences.”

Transgender Equality Network Ireland has details of health, parental and peer support; teni.ie, 01-8733575.

TransparenCI, a parental support group, is on Twitter (@Trans_ParenCI) and email (transparencigroup@gmail.com).

IndividualiTy, a peer support group for transgender people and 14- to 23-year-old s questioning their gender identity, meets every Wednesday, 5.30pm-7.30pm, at BeLonGTo, 13 Parliament Street, Dublin 2.

BeLonGTo does not have a service specifically for under-14s but tries to help by email, phone and one-to-one support; belongto.org, 01-6706223. It can also refer parents or young people to regional services.

The National LGBT Helpline (Monday to Friday 7pm-9pm; Saturday and Sunday 3pm- 6pm) is at 1890- 929539.