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The trans-peer mentoring programme is designed to support individuals who would like holistic support around any issues that are important to you. These might include gender identity, sexual orientation, self-esteem, relationships (personal and with professionals) and well-being issues, and we offer a safe, non-judgmental, supportive, and empowering environment in which to explore these. Many trans identified individuals are not raised in families or community environments that reflect our sexual/gender identities and mentoring with someone from your own community can be key to supporting you and allowing you to talk and work issues through empathetically. You may be at the start of your journey, or some way into it. You may be entirely comfortable with your identity or not.
The journey can evoke many emotions which may be challenging, confusing, and even frightening, and be accompanied by feelings of isolation and loneliness. The mentoring relationship provides a safe place to explore these feelings.
The mentoring relationship will match you with a peer mentor you are happy with, and can follow a semi-structured programme which might include some of the following topics:
The above list is not exhaustive, and the service will be flexible to offer a range of add-on modules to suit the needs of each mentee.
Mentors offer a supportive ear for queries or issues, and as a catalyst for understanding the issue and its possible solutions. They can also sign-posting to other organizations where appropriate to meet other needs such as Housing, Sexual Health, dealing with Police and family life.
The role of Peer Trans Mentor will be to provide a supportive ear for queries or issues, and a catalyst for understanding the issues for individuals and explore possible solutions with them. As well as the obvious benefits to mentees, Mentors can benefit by gaining the opportunity to practice and develop skills that are beneficial in their own professional and personal development. This is accomplished through frank, informal, one-on-one conversations, wherein support and information are provided. Mentors serve as positive role models, utilising your experiences to help another person shed light on their issues and provide resource information.
Mentors will be paid upto £25 for every session they provide. Each session lasts around 60-90 minutes and each person will usually have at least 6 sessions with you.
Once accepted as a Spectra mentor, training for the Peer Mentoring programme consists of a one-day training session with a partner agency which allows you to gain some of the knowledge required to be a Mentor. A further Spectra based training session will also allow you to experience the programme by working through the modules. You will also attend ongoing supervision/training meetings once a month and are also able to consult with the Program Manager as-needed in between meetings.
Mentors are trans and non-binary individuals who have worked through your own trans coming out process and have had experience negotiating life as a trans or non-binary identifying individual. It is this personal experience and understanding that makes mentors particularly well suited to help others, along with your willingness to share honestly and openly, without judgement, your experience and skills.
Any trans or non-binary person who would like support is welcome to apply.
When you apply to the programme, you will be matched with a mentor by the programme coordinators. These matches are typically based on your identified needs as well as shared aspects of identity (e.g. gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, spirituality etc). Once you are paired with a mentor, an introductory meeting is scheduled between you both and one of the program coordinators. At this meeting programme rules are reviewed, contact information is exchanged, and the mentor/mentee pair will begin to decide the details of their ongoing contact.
It is expected that mentors and mentees have ongoing weekly contact with at least one hour-long face to face contact fortnightly.