Photograph of the front door of the Shore Centre location, at 50 Westmount Road North, where the new gender affirming care clinic has opened in Kitchener, Waterloo.


The SHORE Centre will host a soft launch for a limited number of patients for gender-affirming care on Apr.  29 at 50 Westmount Road North. 

The center’s mission is to provide medical and social support to the transgender community in the Waterloo Region.   

The SHORE Centre is a sexual and reproductive health and education organization. Gender-affirming medical care is one component of their larger work.  

“We are here to help facilitate people to reach their goals concerning their gender identity and gender expression,” Delana Thompson, the primary gender-affirming care physician, said.  

The SHORE Centre is not open to self-referral for gender-affirming care services yet and is not prepared to share the booking process or eligibility criteria. The gender-affirming clinic only serves people 18 and up.  

Clients will need to provide their address, phone number and email to book appointments at the SHORE Centre clinic.  

In the future, the clinic hopes to assist with gender-affirming care for the adolescent population once it is more established serving adults.   

“Our team has been fielding a growing number of requests for gender affirming medical care from prospective clients, clinicians and community organizations who have been having a difficult time securing the care they need locally,” Kayla Orr, Executive Director of SHORE Centre, said.  

More trans healthcare and support is needed in the region due to an increase in anti-transgender sentiments.  

In the United States, 549 anti-trans bills were introduced as of March 2024. The Outlook Study, a report out of Wilfrid Laurier University shows that trans people in the Waterloo Region are experiencing high levels of discrimination. 23 per cent of trans people in the region reported their healthcare provider did not know enough about trans-related care to provide it.    

“We are thrilled to be working alongside Dr. Delana Thompson to make this dream into a reality.” Orr said.  

The gender-affirming care clinic provide more support for trans and gender-diverse individuals in the region. It is located next to a pharmacy amply stocked with medication commonly needed for SHORE clients.  

“Many people seeking gender affirming care travel outside of Waterloo Region in order to receive the medical services they need,” Orr said.  

The data presented in the Outlook Study highlighted the high levels of violence and victimization and low levels of social support for transgender community members. The three largest groups of the survey pool included 36 percent genderqueer individuals, 27 percent trans men and 19 per cent trans women.   

“Unfortunately, before getting gender marker changes and legal name changes, a lot of the existing systems do things like require your legal name on health cards,” Thompson said.   

 At the gender-affirming clinic, patients’ goals will be prioritized in patient-centered trans healthcare and to reduce the barriers to care. This is to address that 13 percent of trans people in the region reported their provider used harmful or insulting language about trans identity/experiences 

Thompson’s personal experience as a trans woman informs her goal of improving healthcare access for the transgender population. The clinic aims to create a safe, supportive environment for trans patients. It prioritizes the crucial need for confidentiality for gender-affirming care as stigma and discrimination persist.   

“The need to travel to other communities to receive care creates additional barriers and highlights the inequitable care available to the transgender community within our region,” Orr said.  

At the core of service expansion would be prioritizing patients’ goals in a patient-centered trans healthcare environment and to reduce the barriers to care.  

Adding gender-affirming care to SHORE’s clinical offerings will hopefully provide more support for trans and gender-diverse individuals in the region. Counselling services, and SHORE Centre’s administration will continue to operate at their main office located at 235 King St. E., Kitchener.