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New gender e-learning package launched
Date: Wednesday 14th January 2015

Working in partnership with GIRES (the Gender Identity Research and Education Society), Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has created an e-learning course to help healthcare and other staff understand the needs of these young people.

The course is free, is easily accessible online and takes around 45 minutes to complete. It is designed for healthcare staff of all levels and disciplines (not just those working in mental health), as well as support staff and those from the private healthcare sector. It is also suitable for people working in education. It provides an optional test, as well as a certificate of completion that enables users to earn CPD points.

Children and young people do not always identify as boys or girls in a way that matches the sex registered on their birth certificate. Where this sense of being a boy or a girl (gender identity) is at odds with the sex appearance, they may be described as gender variant or gender nonconforming. These terms include those who do not necessarily identify as one gender or the other but may be somewhere in between on the gender spectrum (non-binary).

These young people can feel isolated and vulnerable. Coming into contact with health services can exacerbate these feelings, particularly as many services are provided in settings which reinforce traditional gender roles – for example in men-only or women-only wards.

Our course aims to raise awareness about these challenges and train staff how to support these young people in a more sensitive and informed way. It includes an introduction to gender nonconconformity, advice on how to create supportive environments for gender nonconforming young people and critical information about medical interventions and front line support.

Pam Frost, Director of Learning and Development who leads the project at Surrey and Borders said:

“Around 1% of the UK population is gender nonconforming*. The number presenting for care is increasing rapidly, especially among young people. So we’re determined that our own services should meet their needs.

“We’re happy to share what we’re learning by making our course available nationally. We would encourage anyone who comes into contact with young people in health services or education – irrespective of their role or location - to complete it.    

“We’re very grateful to GIRES for working with us to develop the e-learning course and extend our thanks to the charity for enabling us to make good use of its invaluable knowledge.”

To access the e-learning course, visit:


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