The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, a pediatric teaching hospital for Northwestern University's medical school, will launch the first gender identity clinic focusing on transgender and gender-variant youth ages 13 and younger in the Windy City later this year.
Although it hasn't officially launched, the clinic, which is a part of the hospital's Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention, currently operates under the direction of the center's director, Dr. Rob Garofalo.
"As a unit, the family is not always ready to embrace terms like 'LGBT' or 'transgender,'" Garofalo told the Windy City Media Group. "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."
Various specialities such as endocrinology, psychology and social services will be made available at the clinic, which already sees about 30 families throughout the Midwest, Garofalo told media outlets.
"I think the most consistent thing I hear from patients is extreme thanks for having a place to be able to come and talk openly about this issue,” Garofalo said, according to CBS.
While Chicago has other youth LGBT health care resources, most of those are aimed at children older than 13. Previously, those families seeking care for their younger children had to fly out to Boston or Los Angeles. This new, one-of-a-kind clinic will fill a void in the Midwest, according to WGNTV.
"This is probably the most obvious fill in the gap role for Lurie," Garofalo is quoted as saying. "This really should be taken on by an academic institution like Lurie because we're dealing with children from early childhood through adolescence."
According to reports, an official launch date for the clinic has yet to be released.
(h/t Windy City Media Group)