Our Trans Programme Assistant, Zane, sat down with Cassie, our Trans Advocacy Officer, to discuss with them about the brand new Trans Advocacy service.
Welcome to the team! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Zane, thank you! I’m really happy to join you and Louie on the Trans Programme team. To introduce myself, I’m Cassie (They/ Them pronouns). People might recognize me from around the LGBT Foundation reception where I have worked on the helpline and reception for the past 18 months. I am also a volunteer counsellor here at the Foundation and volunteer for a Trans Youth Group, and I am passionate about empowering and supporting Trans People, so I’m really excited to be working alongside you both, as Trans Advocacy Officer.
What is advocacy?
Advocacy is a form of practical support. Its purpose is to help people access services to which they are entitled and to ensure that their rights are protected. For trans people, this could be in relation to transition related healthcare, welfare and benefits, or feeling safe and comfortable in education or the workplace, but there are many other examples! The advocate can help to rebalance the power relationship between the person who wants advocacy support and the organization that they want support with speaking to, for example a trans person who wants support with speaking to their GP. They do this in three main ways. First, they provide the person seeking support with the information they need to understand their rights and to make informed decisions. Second they help this person to explore their options and to make informed decisions. Third, the advocate acts as a third party in the relationship between the person and the organization, where their role is to protect and safeguard the person’s rights.
What are your hopes for the Trans Advocacy programme?
I am super excited about the Trans Advocacy Programme! I hope that it will help trans people to feel confident and empowered in their relationship with organizations who are providing services for them or who otherwise play an important part in their life. There are also opportunities for volunteers to learn useful new skills through the programme, and I would love to see the community getting involved. Ultimately, if this programme inspired other organisations to make Trans Advocacy part of the work that they do, that would be awesome J
Who is Trans Advocacy for?
The Trans Advocacy service is open to anyone who identifies with a gender which is different from the one which they were assigned at birth and is over 18 years of age. Advocacy is the right service for you if you need practical ongoing support to ensure that your right to access a service is met, and to help you feel empowered in your relationship to someone in an organization which is either providing you with a service (e.g. housing, benefits, healthcare) or otherwise plays a significant role in your life (e.g. employer). However, if you are mainly seeking emotional support, it would be more appropriate to either call our helpline on 0345 3303030 or access our Talking Therapies/ Counselling service, details of which can be found on the website. You can access both counselling and advocacy at the same time. Advocates are not able to provide legal advice. If you feel unsure whether the service is right for you, please ask!
How can people interested in the programme get in touch?
People who are interested in the programme can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .