Lurie Hospital is one of the first children’s hospitals in the country to have a Gender Development Clinic. The program started 5 years ago under the leadership of Dr Rob Garofalo (featured in this Frontline episode, Growing Up Trans) (it's only an hour long-- you should most definitely check it out. For some reason, this YouTube file plays it through twice, which is why it looks so long). The clinic is funded by Jennifer Pritzker who is herself trans. Lurie has fought for trans youth and have provided supports for them in new ways:
When the Gender Development Clinic first opened, the vast majority of services were denied by insurance companies. Thanks to the work of one full time staff member, they appealed denials until services were covered. Now, there is a whole team whose jobs are dedicated to getting services covered.
Lurie has a support group for trans/ non binary youth called Be Heard where kids can relate to their peers. Often, the parents in the waiting room make valuable connections with each other, as well.
They also have a group called Be Strong, where trans/ non binary youth can work out together. Remember gym class? Now imagine what that would be like if you had started transitioning. Lurie gives kids a safe space to exercise.
Lurie has a mentoring program for trans/ non binary youth. Did you know that 41% of people who identify as trans/ non binary admit to having attempted suicide? The mentoring program pairs trans/ non binary youth with a trans/ non binary adults who can talk them through challenges and reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation.
If you have a child who is experiencing consistent, persistent cross-gender identification, find the contact information for Lurie’s Gender Development clinic here.
*Special thanks to Jennifer Leininger, Program Manager for the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Lurie Children's Hospital, for her help with fact-checking this entry.
**Vox Chicago has no financial relationship with Lurie Children's Hospital.