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Download this file (KOI leaflet.pdf)Leaflet[Archive copy hosted by UK Trans Info]

Brief Summary

Leaflet for the Knowing Our Identity (KOI) service in Northern Ireland.

Extract from Leaflet

KOI sees children and young people who are experiencing difficulties in the development of their gender identity. We work with young people along with their families, and others who are important to them. Some children and young people we see might be unhappy with their biological gender, and others might be unhappy with the expectations people have for them to ‘act like a boy’ or ‘act like a girl’.

At KOI we provide specialist intervention to young people and their families to help with gender related difficulties, and ensure young people are understood and supported by those around them - for example families, schools, clubs and activities. We often work alongside other services such as local mental health services and community services, which can provide additional support for young people and their families.

Who can access the service?

This service is for children and adolescents (up to the age of 18) across Northern Ireland who are experiencing distress in relation to their gender identity development. The preferred route of referral to KOI is through a local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Other professionals working with a young person such as in Health, Social Services or Education, as well as young people and their families, can also contact the service directly to discuss a possible referral.

Who are we in KOI?

The KOI staff have training and experience in talking to children and young people, and thinking about their gender identity as well as their general wellbeing. Our team includes sessions from a Clinical Nurse Specialist/ Family Therapist, a Clinical Psychologist, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, a Pediatric Endocrinologist and Endocrinology Nurse Specialists.

To discuss a potential referral, please contact a member of the team:

Tel: 02890 638000

Address: Beechcroft Foster Green Site 110 Saintfield Road Belfast Bt8 6HD

Please note that KOI is a part-time service.

Our usual days of operation are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. As a part-time service we are unable to respond to crisis situations. In the event of requiring urgent help, please contact your local mental health service, or GP.

Your Right to Confidentiality

Great care is taken in ensuring the confidentiality of children and their families who seek help via our service. In order to support the child, we may liaise with other professionals, with parental consent. On the rare occasion when we consider that a child might be at risk, we may liaise with other professionals without consent, but we will always seek to inform parent(s) and children of our actions.


We aim to provide high quality services. However, if you have a complaint or a suggestion about our service, tell us about it. Alternatively, any positive comments you may have are welcome, as we are keen to hear what you have found helpful and what has worked well for you! Leaflets outlining how to make a complaint can be found in all departments.

The legend of the Koi

According to legend, a koi fish decided to swim upstream to attain enlightenment. As the koi travelled on its journey, moving against the current, it encountered many seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In turn it overcame each one, growing stronger and surer of its journey. Despite the unrelenting pull of the river downstream, the koi struggled onward and upward, eventually cresting a mighty waterfall and was transformed into a flying dragon. Koi became a symbol of willingness to go against the current, with perseverance and determination. Koi now represents courage and the ability to face challenges to achieve goals.

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