The St. Louis Children’s Hospital is now home to a first-of-its kind clinic for transgender teens and kids. The Transgender Center of Excellence, which opened the first week of August, is the only clinic of its kind within a 250-mile radius.
According to its website, The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital “offers the only multidisciplinary care available to children and adolescents in St. Luis region who identify as a gender different from the sex they were assigned at birth.”
Some of the services they offer are mental health supports for gender dysphoria and other issues, education regarding dysphoria and treatments for such, providing hormonal blockers, administering gender-affirming hormones, and voice therapy. They also provide referrals for parents to community resources and support groups to support their children along with support letters for gender marker and name change on legal identifications and certificates.
As one of 38 clinical care programs for Transgender children in the country, the creation of programs like Washington University’s aren’t just affirming, but crucial to the livelihood of trans youth. Studies from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that 63 percent of transgender patients ages 12 to 22 had a history of being bullied. Additionally, a 2016 study from the American Journal of Public Health found that LGBT youths who suffered harassment went on to experience lasting mental health damage, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Having support and acceptance is extremely important for this patient population,” Dr. Christopher Lewis, founder and physician of the clinic told KMOV 4. “Transgender patients already deal with harassment and discrimination within the medical community and that is a barrier to them accessing care.”
As developments in transgender healthcare continues to increase throughout the nation, hospitals and clinics have the opportunity to combat the various physical and mental health disparities impacting transgender people through proper expansion of resources.