This week, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago issued a powerful public policy position statement on the needs of transgender youth, a move believed to be the first for a U.S. children’s hospital.
The statement emphasizes that stigma, including harassment at school, can have a devastating impact on transgender youth and their families. It calls for access to inclusive health care services and for policies that protect transgender children’s and adults’ civil rights.
Since 2013, Lurie Children’s has worked with transgender children and their families through its Gender & Sex Development Program. The program’s founder, Dr. Robert Garofalo, is a leader in transgender health research—including a groundbreaking NIH-funded study that will follow transgender youth in four cities over five years, generating crucial information about their health and well-being. HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index has also named Lurie Children’s a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality for its LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices.
Many other top-ranked children’s hospitals have similar clinics. HRC’s map of clinical care programs highlights nearly 40 programs that provide medical and mental health support for transgender youth and their families.
New research indicates that transgender kids whose families affirm their gender identity are as psychologically healthy as their cisgender, or non-transgender, peers. Shockingly, a number of states have taken steps that single out and stigmatize these children. South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard recently vetoed a bill banning transgender youth from gender-appropriate school restrooms. Despite Daugaard’s conclusion that the bill did not “address any pressing issue,” and ignoring strong opposition by child advocacy groups, Tennessee is advancing a similarly damaging measure that would also extend to universities.
Schools are rapidly learning to affirm transgender and gender non-conforming youth. In August, HRC and four partner organizations released Schools in Transition, a guide that helps schools and families support transgender students. HRC’s Welcoming Schools program works directly with elementary schools to prevent bullying and shape communities that embrace family and gender diversity.
Click here to learn more about HRC’s work on behalf of transgender children and youth.