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July 23, 2018 | by  | in Mauri Ora |
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Mauri Ora

An estimated 1.2% of youth identify with a gender that is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. A further 2.5% are unsure of their gender identity. That equates to around 3,800 people aged 10-24 in Wellington. Being gender diverse is not an “illness”, an orientation, or a choice, but this community has disproportionately higher rates of mental and physical illness than average — in all likelihood resulting from facing marginalisation by society, and limited access to good quality health services and supports. The team at Mauri Ora are aware of how disadvantaged this community has been in terms of equitable health care access, and has been working hard to lead the way in how health teams can do this better. Over the last 3 years we have:
• Formed a working group with representatives from Vic’s sex and gender diverse community, as well as interested healthcare providers – this group meets regularly and has informed many changes at MO, including our gender neutral toilet signs, rainbow bunting in the waiting-room, changes to our registration forms, and training of all our staff.
• Employed an outreach-nurse, Tara, whose portfolio includes the care and support of the rainbow community at Vic.
• Enabled students wishing to officially change their name or gender to access funding from student financial services to assist with these costs.
• Started a pilot clinic based at Mauri Ora, enabling gender diverse patients wishing to “medically transition” to be cared for here, rather than in hospital. This process encompasses affirmative support visits and working towards informed consent. The early signs are that this clinic is working really well, and after formal evaluation later in the year, we are really hopeful we will get ongoing funding so that this can be a regular feature at Mauri Ora. Note at present, the clinic cannot accept new referrals, but we are more than happy to meet with you and talk through your options at any stage.
• For more information, contact Tara on 022 035 8131 or tara.lewis@vuw.ac.nz

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