Although GIRES works with a number of major organisations, it never loses touch with the needs of the individual gender non-conforming people and their families, whether members or not, who seek its help every day. Each gender non-conforming individual faces the challenges of being themselves within families, education, the workplace and social settings, where they may experience discrimination and even violence.
In the UK, around 650,000 people, 1% of the population, are estimated to experience some degree of gender non-conformity. Most of them are as yet invisible. However, information via the internet, stronger laws, more support groups, increasingly responsible media reporting and improving healthcare are contributing to rapid growth in the number of gender non-conforming people confident in being visible, especially among the young.
The growth rates of those seeking medical care are +20% p.a. among adults (who currently account for the majority cases) and 50% p.a. among young people. This growth looks set to continue. About 26,000 individuals have so far sought medical care, in general practice or specialist centres, but a further 100,000 may do so in the near future.
GIRES and the other support groups receive a stream of requests for help from individuals with a wide range of needs, for instance: a child not being allowed to use the appropriate toilet in school; a wife who has just learned that her spouse intends to change gender role; an employee intending to undergo transition at work; a patient being denied proper gender reassignment treatment.
GIRES maintains a directory of local and national support groups that has been accessed just over 3 million times since its launch in 2010: www.TranzWiki.net.