A new support network is being set up on the South Shore for parents of transgender and gender diverse children and teens.
The network is headed up by BriAnna Simons of BriAnna Simons Therapeutic Services, who says there are few supports for parents of transgender youth under 16.
Simons works with people with younger transgender kids and says parents often feel isolated, like they are the only ones out there who are going through the experience.
"As people kind of get to know there are other people, it's like a snowball effect, once somebody connects with one person then they say 'oh, I know this person' and everybody starts to unite," says Simons.
Simons says it's easier in larger places like Halifax but on the South Shore, there's nothing that meets the needs she's identified.
This is way for parents to get linked up to professional services they might not know was aware of and also guide them through the experiences their children are going through says Simons.
"This is a population that essentially doesn't have a whole lot of services because there's not a lot of talk about it," says Simons.
Cyndi Sweeney with PFLAG (Parents and Friends for All) Halifax is also helping with organizing the network.
PFLAG Halifax aims to help parents better understand their LGBTQ children.
"They're scared and looking for support and looking for information on what (coming out) means," says Sweeney. "When you sit down and traditionally think about having children, you don't usually think about what happens if they identify differently."
Sweeney met Simons in a parent support group themselves and she says they recognized there was a void in support for parents on the South Shore, who may not always be able to travel to Halifax.
The first meeting is set for tonight at 7 tonight (January 9) at 4171 Highway 3 in Chester.
A meeting will be scheduled once every three months, unless parents express an interest in having more frequent meetings or other types of social activities like play groups.
Story by Brittany Wentzell