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Lurie Children's Hospital Opens Gender Identity Clinic

By Amy Cavanaugh in News on Feb 9, 2013 9:00PM

The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago unveiled a gender identity clinic Friday that will offer transgender and gender-variant kids 13 years old and younger a wide array of services, from endocrinology to psychology to social services. The clinic, which has not officially launched yet, has been operating as part of the hospital's Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention, which is located in Uptown.

Heading up the center is Dr. Rob Garofalo, who told the Windy City Times that, "As a unit, the family is not always ready to embrace terms like 'LGBT' or 'transgender… I think coming to Lurie allows people to come to a place where services are hopefully increasingly culturally competent, without threatening the developmental trajectory that these families have to go through."

Garofalo pulled together specialists working at Lurie to build the clinic, which will also add a psychologist and a social worker. Funds for the clinic came from a donation from the Tawani Foundation and money that Lurie itself provided.

Though Chicago does have LGBT services for youth, they focus on kids older than 13. In the past, families with younger children would visit Boston Children's Hospital or Children's Hospital Los Angeles, which offer children's gender clinics. Thirty families from around the Midwest have already used the clinic's services, and the clinic will officially launch sometime this year.