Five Questions with ADMIN Group Facilitators
20 Aug 2022
ADMIN is Thorne Harbour Health’s award-winning peer support group for transgender, non-binary and gender diverse people looking to better manage their alcohol and other drug use.
Group Facilitators Atlus and Xin speak about the benefits of participating in the group, their highlights and why they feel a space like ADMIN is so important.
How/why did you get involved as an ADMIN facilitator?
Atlus: I was a participant not long after the group began. I would attend every fortnight; the group felt like a family and helped me get on top of life. I signed up to become a facilitator in hopes of making a positive impact in the lives of group members and beyond.
Xin: I was employed by Thorne Harbour Health’s Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) team as paid staff, and the team introduced the ADMIN group to me. I was very much excited to hear we have a Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) specific group within AOD service and happy to be aboard.
Why is it important to have a space like ADMIN exclusive to TGD people?
Atlus: It can be incredibly hard to find a safe and welcoming place as a TGD person, let alone one where you can bring along your struggles and find mutual support. The more spaces we can have available to provide peer support to TGD folks, the stronger our community will be.
Xin: It is subtle in terms of creating gender safe environment for TGD folks, as individuals may have different triggers and perceptions towards affirmation and discrimination. When it’s TGD exclusive, I found people are generally more open to sharing and looking into themselves.
What are some benefits of participating in a peer support group like ADMIN?
Atlus: There are so many possible benefits to attending a peer-led group like ADMIN. The number one thing members take away from every meeting is feeling seen, heard and connected. ADMIN is made by the people who attend, and what you bring is often what you can take away. Attending a peer-led support group also often helps to give a different perspective on issues we face, helping us find new solutions. The possibilities are endless.
Xin: People can broadly share things, and we can get so many details from those conversations. Substance use is not just about behaviours; it’s also shaped by our cultural and political factors. For the TGD community, this broad context matters significantly in terms of how we are positioned.
What has been a highlight of your experience working with the group?
Atlus: The magic of a group discussion that is supportive and passionate when there is no need for active facilitation. It's always rewarding when group members connect and get deep into a conversation.
Xin: The group is an organ itself that participants contribute a lot, and there is a lot of positive and supportive energy going across the group. It’s lovely to see how we advocate for each other and for ourselves.
What advice would you give someone considering participating in the group for the first time?
Atlus: Just come along for a night. You don't have to actively participate if you're not yet comfortable. Alternatively, if you're up to it, bring your whole self and be a part of the magic. Witnessing first-hand is the best way to find out how supportive and welcoming the ADMIN group is.
Xin: Simply being yourself as you are accepted as who you are in ADMIN.