11 October 2013

New Trans Teen Clinic In Toronto

I remember what a revelation it was for me--in my 40's--to learn of the existence of the Callen Lorde Community Health Center.

I've been going there ever since I began counseling for my gender identity issues.  To this day, my primary care doctor and gynecologist are based there.

When I started going to Callen Lorde, I was happy to learn of their program for LGBT youth. In fact, I referred a couple of young people who were in my support groups to it, as the program was available to those up to the age of 22.  "I wish there'd been something like that when I was their age," I mused.

Now, in Toronto, there's such a program for transgender teenagers, based in the Sick Kids Hospital.  There had been two other clinics for trans teens in Canada's largest city, but they provided only mental health care.  The clinic in Sick Kids is the first to provide medical care, including hormones for some.  

Most important, those who have created the Sick Kids clinic seem to understand that trans kids and teenagers have specific medical issues that, if left untreated, can lead to risky behavior such as unprotected sex, substance abuse and even suicide attempts.  I know all about such things, believe me.

Some may think that such programs "confuse" kids or "push" them into transitioning.  If they're anything like the programs I used at Callen Lorde and the LGBT Community Center, I doubt very highly if such a thing would happen.  If anything, I found the screening to be rigorous though supportive.  I hope--and somehow suspect--that the folks at Sick Kids will be like that--and that they will provide an atmosphere in which young people who may believe they are trans (or simply know they don't fit into the gender and sexuality boxes their schools, communities and, in some cases, families have given them) can look for information and guidance.