A new gender clinic has opened at Wodonga, the first regional clinic in Australia to offer specialist medical services to young trans people.

Gateway Health’s Gender Service provides support and referral for trans and gender diverse people aged 17 and under.

Prior to the clinic opening, the nearest gender clinic for young people was at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, 300 kilometres away.

One parent of a trans child spoke out about the difficulty of living so far from the necessary medical services.

“It’s just so hard living here in Wodonga, travelling so far on a regular basis,” she said.

“Every six to eight weeks we would travel all the way there, even to sit and wait for a blood test.

“It’s been a very long, difficult journey, but thank god we have this centre here now in Wodonga, and hopefully others won’t [have to] go through what we did.”

Gateway Health chief executive Leonard Peady said planning is underway for the future of the new service.

“We are excited to be the first in regional Australia to offer a multidisciplinary service for our community’s transgender and gender diverse children, adolescents and their families,” he said.

“We have made a range of changes to our Wodonga office, including installing all-gender restrooms and training for staff, to create a more inclusive service.

“The Gender Service nurse coordinator position is funded until December 2017, and we are seeking opportunities to secure the Gender Service into the future.”

The Gateway Health Gender Service is currently open on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and no referral is required for the clinic.

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