Chicago will soon be home to one of the only medical clinics for transgender and gender-variant children in the country. The Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention Center based out of Lurie Children's Hospital is launching a Gender Identity Clinic, filling a major gap in gender-affirming care in Chicago. The clinic, which is up and running but has yet to officially launch, is the first of its kind in the city and one of few resources for gender-variant kids younger than 13. Through the clinic, children dealing with gender identity issues will have access to everything from endocrinology to psychology "As a unit, the family is not always ready to embrace terms like 'LGBT' or 'transgender,'" said Dr. Rob Garofalo, director of the Center. "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 created the clinic out of a patchwork of specialists already working within Lurie, a move that both has both staffed the clinic and furthered understanding about transgender lives within Lurie, he said. The Center will also employ a psychologist and a social worker. In past years, Chicago families with transgender kids often found medical and mental health services piecemeal. While many of the city's LGBT organizations offer youth services, most of those services are designed for kids ages 13 and older.
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