Our Story

Our story started in May 2014 when Vic Tanner Davy formed Trans* Jersey, a website resource and online support group for transgender and gender non-binary people in Jersey.

Having been through the process of transitioning and finding very little information (for himself or his doctors) about how to navigate that pathway in Jersey, Vic’s initial piece of work was to map and publicise the pathway to care for Islanders wishing to transition.

What the work revealed was a complex, pathologised and inconsistent pathway to care that was damaging transgender and gender non-binary Islanders’ mental health and not producing outcomes in an acceptable timeframe.

Jersey’s reliance on NHS gender identity clinics meant that clients had to leave the Island for treatment adding extra cost and anxiety, and that Jersey clients were at the mercy of increasing NHS waiting lists. At its worst, Jersey clients were waiting over five years for a first appointment with a NHS gender identity clinic.

Over the years, Trans* Jersey had various meetings with individuals in Jersey’s Health Service, which resulted in a number of false starts to reforming the pathway to care. Health Service employees, particularly in mental health services, were understanding and compassionate about the problems for clients, but the organisational momentum to make change did not exist.

Three events provided the momentum: the declassification by the World Health Organisation in May 2019 of gender incongruence as a mental disorder; the approval of the Jersey Care Model in November 2020 that seeks to do more to help Islanders to look after their own health at a primary care level; and, the Bell v Tavistock judgement in December 2020 (which has been quashed on appeal) where the judgement gave effect to all medical treatment being stopped for under 16 year olds.

Meanwhile, within Jersey’s Mental Health Services clinicians were seeing greater numbers of people questioning their gender identity and subsequently wishing to transition. Dr Zainab Kadhim’s interest in the field of gender identity meant that she was seeing more and more adult clients from the trans community, becoming the Island’s lead practitioner in the field, and leading her to the conclusion that Jersey could produce a model of care that meant it was less reliant on the NHS and able to serve its transgender and gender non-binary community better.

In January 2019, Hugo Forrester began hosting Trans* Jersey’s peer support group, bringing Islanders together to discuss their experiences of living as a transgender or gender non-binary person in the Island. The group’s experiences of the pathway to care were captured in a survey.

In March 2019, Vic, Hugo and Zainab met for the first time to map out what would need to be in place to deliver care for transgender and gender non-binary Islanders in Jersey and lessen the need to interact with the NHS. A year later, Zainab had received agreement from Dr James Barrett, the lead clinician and Director of the NHS Gender Identity Clinic, to provide clinical supervision and oversight to Jersey. This was key in enabling Jersey’s psychiatrists to train to provide gender therapy in the Island.

In February 2021, a cross-disciplinary group of Jersey Health Service professionals, lead by Daniela Raffio, met to discuss the need for Jersey to respond to the Bell v Tavistock judgement. This group were primarily looking at the pathway to care for under 18s, but it became clear from their discussions that their work and the work of reforming the pathway for adult services were interlinked. The Jersey Youth Service’s team responsible for the LGBTQ+ section of the YES project were key members of this group.

The charity-health service model selected by all those examining the pathway to care is based on the Indigo Gender Clinic in Manchester, who have pioneered this holistic approach to transgender and gender non-binary healthcare provision.