Trans health

  • On this page

    1. Rainbow Health Ontario: building capacity for trans care
    2. Trans health trainings
    3. The trans care mentorship call
    4. Trans health resources spotlight
    5. Ontario’s Trans Health Expansion
    6. Registration form: mentorship call

    Rainbow Health Ontario: building capacity for trans health care

    With health care for trans and gender-diverse communities not yet a part of most medical education, many clinicians believe they have never seen gender-diverse clients in their practice. These service users often end up having bad experiences, or being referred out—even when their needs are routine.

    As part of improving LGBT2SQ health outcomes in Ontario, Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO)’s work includes building capacity for trans health care in this province through clinical and cultural competency training, mentoring and fostering networks, and resources and consultation. Much of RHO’s work in this area began under the name of the Trans Health Connection, an initiative that created invaluable connections across regions, communities and sectors to strengthen the trans health landscape in Ontario.

    As a program of Sherbourne Health, RHO is also a partner in Ontario’s Trans Health Expansion (THEx), a partnership formed with Women’s College Hospital and CAMH to improve access to transition-related surgeries (TRS) and post-surgical care.

    Trans health trainings

    Rainbow Health Ontario offers trans health trainings for health care service providers:

    • Transition in the workplace;
    • Introduction to gender diversity;
    • Trans and gender-diverse primary care;
    • Transition-related surgeries: planning, referral, and care
    • Counselling, advocacy, and mental health support for trans and gender-diverse people;
    • What counsellors need to know about hormones;
    • Supporting gender-independent and trans children and youth; and
    • Attachment and trauma-informed counselling with trans people and their loved ones.

    For full session descriptions, contact information and training request forms, please visit our training page.

    The trans care mentorship call, bi-weekly on the first and third Wednesday of every month*, 12-1 pm

    *Please note that for January 2020, the calls will be the second and fourth Wednesday.

    RHO’s trans care mentorship call is an opportunity for clinicians across the province to join a weekly teleconference and connect with other clinicians who have experience working with trans and non-binary clients.

    The call is open to any professional (physician, nurse, social worker, mental health worker, etc) who is already working with gender-diverse clients or who is intending to. Providers are invited to build knowledge, ask questions, and share experiences. The topics discussed range from specific case-based questions to more general social or ethical issues. By sharing their own learning, practitioners have the opportunity to contribute a community of practice and to establish valuable professional networks.

    If you’re interested in joining the mentorship call, please fill out the registration form at the bottom of this page

    Are you an LGBT2SQ-positive service provider?

    Please make your services known to Ontarians looking for LGBT2SQ-positive service providers through RHO’s Service Provider Directory. Visited over 1,000 times monthly, you can register a profile as an individual or a team free of charge. The directory is searchable by service type, keyword and postal code.

  • Related

Trans health resources spotlight

Sherbourne’s Guidelines, 4th edition

This edition of Sherbourne’s Guidelines for gender-affirming primary care with trans and non-binary patients, like its predecessor, was authored by Dr. Amy Bourns, a family physician on Sherbourne’s LGBT2SQ Health Team. In addition to incorporating recently available evidence in both general primary care and trans health, the 2019 edition features revisions and expansions in several areas, including:

  • expanded discussion of considerations for non-binary patients;
  • unique considerations for older trans patients;
  • incorporation of changes to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) diagnosis;
  • subtle language changes that reflect the rapid pace of cultural change;
  • an expanded discussion of fertility considerations for trans people;
  • discussion of alternate routes of hormone administration;
  • expanded discussion of HIV prevention and treatment in transfeminine and transmasculine populations;
  • an updated monitoring schedule with a reduced number of routine bloodwork parameters required;
  • an overview of the role of PCPs in supporting patients with transition-related surgeries; and
  • a review of the updated process for referrals and public funding for transition-related surgeries in Ontario.

Hard copies of the Guidelines will soon be available to order in the RHO store. The Trans Primary Care Guide, the online interactive tool based on the Guidelines, is currently being updated to reflect the most current clinical information consistent with this new 4th edition of the Guidelines.

The online Trans Primary Care Guide

On Nov. 24, 2016, Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO), a program of Sherbourne Health, launched the Trans Primary Care Guide.

A first of its kind in Canada, the Trans Primary Care Guide is an innovative online interactive tool to assist healthcare providers in offering primary and transition-related care to trans and gender-diverse patients.

The Guide provides an introduction to trans care issues, addresses common fears around providing hormone therapy, and maps out guidelines and protocols for caring for trans patients. This inventive tool is based on Sherbourne’s globally-used Guidelines and Protocols for Trans Clients handbook, which was recently republished in its 4th edition. The Guide was developed in partnership with Kelly Speck, a student of the University of Toronto (U of T)’s Biomedical Communications program.


Intended for persons considering transition-related surgery in Ontario, and the people supporting them, this FAQ about transition-related surgeries (TRS) is a guide to the assessment and referral process for Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Approval for OHIP funding.

The TRS FAQ was produced by the Trans Health Expansion, a partnership between Sherbourne Health including Rainbow Health Ontario, Women’s College Hospital and CAMH to improve access to TRS and post-TRS care in Ontario.

Surgical Summary Sheets

Intended for use by primary care providers, these summary sheets about transition-related surgeries (TRS) provide information to facilitate discussion of TRS between primary care providers and patients.

Please note that they are not exhaustive and do not replace the informed consent process between surgeon and patient.

A single file including all sheets is available, or they can be downloaded individually. Sheets are available about the following procedures: Breast augmentation; Chest reconstruction; Clitoral release; Hysterectomy and BSO; Metoidioplasty; Orchiectomy; Phalloplasty; Vaginoplasty

These documents were created by clinicians at Sherbourne Health using information adapted from the Transgender Health Information Program of British Columbia, the GRS Montreal Clinic, and the Gender Identity Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Media Reference Guide

Created with journalists in mind to encourage respectful and accurate reporting on trans and gender-diverse communities, the Media Reference Guide is a useful primer for anyone who wants to better understand and make use of gender-inclusive language.

The second edition, now illustrated, has re-organized the original content for a more intuitive reading experience and updated terminology in the guide. Additionally, the guide now comes with a single-page companion tip sheet designed to be kept on hand as a quick reference tool.

The Guide was created in partnership with The 519.

The Trans Health Knowledge Base

The Trans Health Knowledge Base is a collection of FAQs about trans health and transitioning for trans and non-binary people in Ontario. RHO and our FAQs working group gathered these answers in response to questions we are commonly asked by trans and non-binary community members in Ontario.

Visit the Knowledge Base today to get answers to FAQs about access to health care, social transition, hormones, transition-related surgeries and more.

Please visit our Resource Library for more resources on trans health and other LGBT2SQ health topics.

The Trans Health Expansion

  • About the Trans Health Expansion

    Ontario’s Trans Health Expansion (THEx) is partnership to improve access to transition-related surgeries (TRS) and post-surgical care in Ontario between Sherbourne Health including Rainbow Health Ontario, Women’s College Hospital and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

    Since the 2016 regulation change that allowed primary care providers in Ontario to offer TRS assessments and referrals, the THEx has been hard at work to improve care across the province.

  • Trans Health Expansion updates

    Enter your email and hit “subscribe” below to receive newsletter updates about the work of the Trans Health Expansion partnership.

Trans care mentorship call registration form

Name (required)

Organization (required)

Email (required)



Professional Role / Position (required)

Phone # (required)

Populations Served (required)

Have you received any previous formal training on providing primary care or other services to trans people? If so, please provide details. (required)

Do you follow any particular protocols for providing trans primary healthcare (for example, RHO and Sherbourne Health’s Guidelines and Protocols for Comprehensive Primary Health Care for Trans Clients or the Vancouver Coastal Health’s Guidelines for Transgender Care? Please provide details: (required)

Are you currently seeing any trans clients? How many? What kind of services do you provide (for example groups, general healthcare, trans specific health care, mental health counselling, etc)? (required)

Please briefly describe the kind of support or information you are seeking at this time from the mentorship program: (required)

Members of the mentorship group will receive regular email communications on the timing and focus of mentorship sessions as well as occasional messages about the project, educational materials or other relevant events.

Please tick this box to indicate that you understand and accept this.

Do you have any questions or comments about this program?