A new website aims to provide support for Rodney’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and those questioning their sexual identity.
Amanda Ashley and wife Lisa set up the website after becoming concerned about the lack of information and access to services and support for the rainbow community in Rodney.
Amanda says online and phone support is available, but the physical places to go were in Auckland city or, at best, on the North Shore.
“Although what’s there is amazing, sometimes you really need something local,” she says.
“We were concerned with the lack of knowledge among our local GPs and wanted to provide a single place to bring together up-to-date research as well as direct paths to the right services,” Amanda says.
The website, which went live on May 16, complements the Rodney Area Rainbow LGBTQ group on Facebook.
Through these online platforms, the group provides resources, information for parents, articles and links to other organisations.
Amanda says the platforms offer a safe environment for the Rodney LGBTQ community to come together, and also liaises with local youth groups to provide support.
Nine months ago, Amanda took the first step towards transitioning her own gender.
She says she has known her true gender identity since the age of eight, but put it to the back of her mind until last year when she felt safe and supported enough to begin socially transitioning. Four months ago, she began hormone therapy.
Amanda says it was clear, right from the beginning, that there was a lack of information and access to services and support locally for transgender people.