Pediatric gender clinics have popped up to meet the growing demand of children and adolescents who have adopted a transgender identity. At least 47 pediatric gender clinics, many at prominent children’s hospitals, have broadened the scope of their patient criteria to include not only transgender-identified children, but those they describe as “gender creative,” “gender diverse,” or “gender nonconforming.” Some of these programs see patients as young as two and three years old.
While most clinics will not offer medical interventions until a child has reached puberty, many will help facilitate a “social transition.” Evidence shows that such a “social transition” may dramatically increase the likelihood of a child persisting in the rejection of their bodies, increasing their likelihood of pursuing permanent surgical changes in their teenage years.
“There is good reason to believe that social transition is iatrogenic, meaning that ‘affirming’ a child socially with his/her preferred name and pronouns increases the chance that the cross-gender ID will persist and medical interventions will be sought,” says Ph.D. researcher and Manhattan Institute Fellow Leor Sapir, citing a 2019 paper by Dr. Kenneth Zucker published in the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology.
Evidence currently indicates that roughly 60–90% of children who identify as transgender but do not socially or medically transition will no longer identify as transgender in adulthood.
“Despite the differences in country, culture, decade, and follow-up length and method, all the studies have come to a remarkably similar conclusion: Only very few trans-kids still want to transition by the time they are adults. Instead, they generally turn out to be regular gay or lesbian folks,” says sexual behavior scientist Dr. James Cantor.
But rather than let these feelings fade, gender clinics and hospitals across the U.S. have adopted the “gender affirming” approach. In practice, this approach amounts to putting children in charge of dictating the terms of their own sex change. The gender-affirmation model prevents medical professionals from questioning a child’s self-reported transgender identity, and from exploring possible underlying factors causing their dysphoria. The standard protocol for gender affirmation is administering puberty blockers, followed by cross-sex hormones and then surgery, if desired.
With the broadening of the definition of what it means to be “transgender,” more children are in danger of becoming lifelong medical patients. A clinical diagnosis of persistent gender dysphoria from early childhood isn’t even necessary to receive treatment. Even if hospitals do abide by this “outdated” practice, the DSM-5, the manual of mental disorders used by health care professionals, has rendered it practically worthless. The update to the DSM-5 indicates that “gender incongruence” only needs to be present for 6 months, so many children who recently decided on a trans-identity can obtain puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries.
Here is a list of 47 pediatric gender clinics in the U.S. advertising services for children who merely reject sex-based stereotypes, as highlighted by the left-wing Human Rights Campaign. A similar list was published in the peer-reviewed journal “Pediatric Annals,” titled “Resource List: Clinical Care Programs for Gender-Nonconforming Children and Adolescents.”
According to its Gender Support Program homepage, Phoenix Children’s Hospital treats “gender questioning” and “gender expansive” youth, who are described as “Children and youth who express a wider, more flexible range of gender identity and/or expression than typically associated with their sex assigned at birth.”
El Rio Community Health Center’s Medical Home for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth in Tuscon, Arizona provides “gender affirming care” to the “Pediatric and Adult Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming communities as well as LGBTQ patients.”
The University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Gender Center (UCSF) welcomes children as young as two, according to mental health director Diane Ehrensaft in a promotional video to potential patients and their families, who are described as “gender creative,” “gender diverse,” and “gender-expansive.” UCSF offers additional guidance on “Genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and gender nonbinary (GNB) people” who “do not live within the binary gender narrative,” and a guide to neopronouns and various identities including “gender blender” and “gender smoothie.”
The Dimensions Clinic offers free and low-cost healthcare to youth ages 12-25 “specifically to serve transgender and gender non-binary young people.” Dimensions Clinic suggested it assisted in concealing a child’s visit from parents by obscuring the billing information. A question archived from their FAQ asks “What if I have insurance through my parents and they don’t know I’m Queer/Trans?” and answers: “Billing would indicate you had a visit at the Castro-Mission Health Center, not Dimensions Clinic. We take steps to ensure confidentiality for all of our patients, please talk to us about your needs around discretion.” However, this may also apply to adults over 18 who are still on their parent’s insurance plan.
Pediatric Services in the Multi-Specialty Transitions (MST) Department at Oakland Medical Center offers “gender affirming care” for “transgender, gender expansive, and gender non-binary youth and their families.” MST explains its philosophy on its website, “We believe there is a broad range of gender identities and expressions and that gender diversity is healthy.”
The Pediatric and Adolescent Gender Clinic at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Standford in Palo Alto, California “provides medical services for gender nonconforming youths and their families in one central location.” According to its “top surgery” page, double mastectomy surgery is marketed towards “teens” and “gives gender diverse youth solid footing for stepping out into the world.”
The Gender Health Center (GHC) at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in California markets itself as “the first all ages clinic specialized in caring for transgender, gender-non-binary and gender expansive people in the South Bay.”
The UCLA Gender Health Program’s pediatric practice provides “gender affirming” treatments for “children and adolescents who are transgender or gender-diverse.” UCLA offers its patients fertility preservation options, due to the sterilizing nature of the “gender affirming” treatments it offers.
The Center for Transyouth Health and Development (CTYHD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is “dedicated to providing affirming care for transgender and gender diverse children, adolescents, young adults and their families.” According to its homepage, CTYHD “rejects the gatekeeper model of care and focuses on how to help our patients and families in the least restrictive environment possible.”
The UCI Health Gender Diversity Program “offers Orange County’s only interdisciplinary program dedicated to caring for transgender and gender-expansive children, teens and adults.”
The TRUE Center for Gender Diversity at Children’s Hospital Colorado boasts of being “the only comprehensive care center in the Rocky Mountain region specifically set up for gender-diverse children, adolescents and young adults.”
12. Yale Medicine
Yale Medicine’s Pediatric Gender Program “supports the needs of gender-diverse children and their families” and “treats people as young as 3 and up to age 25.” Speaking in a now-deleted promotional video to potential patients and their families, director of the Yale Gender Program Christy Olezeski said that their program works with “gender-expansive individuals 3 to 25.”
Nemours Children’s Hospital’s Gender Wellness program in Delaware “offer[s] a wide range of services for kids and teens who are looking for help with their gender identity development and/or transition.” Nemours Children’s website details its philosophy, “Exploring gender and sexuality is part of every child’s development. For some kids and teens, the gender assigned to them at birth doesn’t match the gender that feels most comfortable to them.”
The UF Health Youth Gender Program at the University of Florida “provides medical care and psychologic support for transgender and gender noncomforming youth with gender dysphoria.” According to its website, UF educates patients and their families “about gender identity development and gender nonconformity and offer services for social and medical transitioning.”
According to its Gender Development Program homepage, Lurie Children’s treats minors it describes as “gender-questioning youth,” “gender-fluid youth” and “gender expansive or gender non-conforming children,” who are defined as “Children and adolescents who exhibit behavior that is not typical of their assigned birth sex.”
The Pediatric Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Clinic at the University of Iowa’s website reads, “The primary focus of the pediatric LGBTQ clinic is to provide hormone therapy for children undergoing gender transition, are transgender, a-gender, or gender-questioning.”
The Gender Pathway Services clinic at Children’s Mercy “provides interdisciplinary, family-centered services for transgender, gender-variant, and gender-questioning patients.” Children’s Mercy Kansas defines the “gender variant” minors they serve as “Children and adolescents who express themselves differently from traditional gender norms.”
The Gender Clinic at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Maine says it is “dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of transgender, gender diverse and questioning youth across Northern New England. We give treatment to children and their families from childhood through adolescence.”
Center for Adolescent & Young Adult Health / Emerge Gender and Sexuality Clinic at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center serves “gender-variant, gender non-conforming, and transgender children, adolescents, and young adults up to 25 years.” The website states, “We are here to assist transgender and gender-diverse children, adolescent, and young adults be their most authentic selves.”
Chase Brexton Health Care’s Gender JOY (Journeys of Youth) in Baltimore “provides expert health care services for transgender and gender diverse children and adolescents, and their families.”
Transhealth in Northhampton, Massachusetts is a health care center that describes itself as a “trans-led organization serving trans and gender-diverse individuals and families,” which includes a pediatric clinic. On an external website, Transhealth advertises its services to “trans and gender-diverse adults, children, and families.”
The Adolescent Center / CATCH – Child and Adolescent Transgender Center for Health at Boston Medical Center is “committed to providing support and care to children, adolescents, and young adults across the gender spectrum. Whether you or your child identify as transgender, non-binary, or is gender exploring, our dedicated clinical team is here to assist you every step of the way.”
The Gender Multispecialty Service (GeMS) at Boston Children’s Hospital provides “gender affirming care” to “gender-diverse children, teens, and young adults” ages 3-25. Boston Children’s Hospital boasts about having the first pediatric transgender surgery center in the country offering a “full suite of surgical options for transgender teens.”
24. Fenway Health
The Fenway Health Trans and Gender Diverse Youth Care program has three clinical sites “providing medical care to trans and gender diverse young people.” It offers appointments “for your child to discuss gender exploration and/or options in medical gender affirmation.” Fenway Health also has behavioral health services that “provide episodic treatment for trans, nonbinary, and gender diverse patients ages 12 and up.”
In Baystate’s Pediatric Gender Program “endocrinologists and behavioral health specialists work together to offer compassionate care for gender diverse adolescents.”
The Child and Adolescent Gender Services at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital “provides care for transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse youth.”
Children’s Minnesota Gender Health program serves “gender-diverse youth” and isolates children from their parents aged 10 and up for a “confidential interview,” according to their website.
The Gender and Sexuality Service at the Child Study Center, part of the Transgender Youth Health Program at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, serves “gender-expansive” children and adolescents. In addition to “gender-affirming” medical interventions, NYU Langone “help[s] children and their families understand and explore their identity.”
The Compass Program at NewYork-Presbyterian markets itself as “a comprehensive program for transgender and gender-diverse children and adolescents in a safe, welcoming, and nonjudgmental space.”
The Gender Wellness Center at Susquehanna Family Practice in Oneonta, New York provides “primary care for gender-nonconforming children/teens and adult patients.” Their website elaborates on the medical treatment for “transgender and gender-expansive youth” which includes “the use of medications to block puberty, allowing the youth and family have adequate time to assess gender identity and create an appropriate plan.”
The Gender Health Services at the Division of Adolescent Medicine in UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital has “services available to aid families, youth, and young adults who identify as transgender, gender fluid, or have other questions or concerns about their gender.”
The Gender Understanding, IDentity and Expression (GUIDE) Program at Cleveland Clinic Children’s “provides a wide range of support and intervention for youth (childhood through adolescent years) who are gender questioning, gender non-conforming, gender fluid, or transgender, or who are struggling with any other issues around gender.”
Akron Children’s Hospital’s Center for Gender Affirming Medicine’s stated goals are to “help gender-diverse youth feel comfortable exploring their gender identity and improve their overall health.”
The MetroHealth KIDz Pride Clinic in Cleveland is “aware of the unique needs and stresses that sex and gender diverse children and adolescents may be going through. They are affirming and sensitive in all care.” Its stated goal is to provide a “supportive, pressure free environment so your child can explore their gender safely.” Of note is its guidance for divorced parents: “One important question is about court ordered custody and medical power of attorney if the parents are divorced. You may be asked to provide a copy of the court paperwork.”
As part of the THRIVE Program, the Gender Development team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital “works with families of transgender and gender diverse youth and adolescents to help meet their needs.” Nationwide Children’s notes that “One in 137 American teenagers identifies as transgender.”
The Transgender Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center sees “transgender and gender non-conforming” children and adolescents. It defines “Transgender” as “an umbrella term for people who experience their gender differently from their gender at birth.”
The Randall Children’s Gender Care Center at the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, Oregon offers “medical and mental health care” for “gender expansive youth.” Randall Children’s explains that “People who identify as transgender or gender diverse have an ongoing discomfort with the gender given to them at birth,” and “Some children identify as transgender or gender diverse at a very young age, and others come to this realization around or after puberty.” Gender identity, Randall Children’s defines “is one’s internal sense of being male, female, some of both or neither.”
The Doernbecher Gender Clinic locations “offer a full range of services for transgender and gender-nonconforming children and teens” and serves “gender-diverse patients of all ages.” Doernbecher Gender Clinic says, “We may recommend gender-affirming surgery for patients having difficulty with basic activities such as school, work or sports.” Additionally, OHSU has a “Transgender Gynecology Clinic” which “offers a gender-neutral space for your comfort.”
The Gender and Sexuality Development Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) offers “psychosocial and medical support for gender nonconforming, gender expansive and transgender children and youth,” including surgical referrals. “These children can connect with identity terms such as transgender, gender fluid, gender non-binary, gender expansive, or many new terms that are emerging every day,” reads their webpage.
Hasbro Children’s offers an “Adolescent Gender and Sexuality Clinic” which “provides care for the growing population of children and adolescents who are transgender, gender diverse, or otherwise exploring their gender identity.” Hasbro Children’s markets its services to “any and all gender diverse and gender-nonconforming individuals from early childhood through maturity.”
The Pediatric Transgender Clinic at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center sees “gender-diverse children and adolescents.” A previous version of their website used the term “gender variant” to describe the children and adolescents they treat.
The Adolescent Medicine Clinic with GeMS (Gender Management & Support) at Eccles Primary Children’s Outpatient Services displays a badge from the Human Rights Campaign for being a LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader. “We offer a comprehensive clinic for transgender, non-binary, intersex, and gender diverse youth, as well as for youth questioning their gender—care for physical, mental, and emotional health,” reads its website.
The Transgender Youth Program at the UVM Children’s Hospital “strives to provide gender-variant and transgender children and their families, with comprehensive education and resources about available options. Ages of patients for whom we provide services: up to 18 years old.”
WVU Medicine Children’s has two locations for its Gender & Sexual Development Clinic. “Patients include gender expansive or gender-questioning children and adolescents; transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents; children and adolescents questioning or exploring sexual orientation,” reads the website.
Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic describes itself as “a multidisciplinary clinic that provides care for transgender and gender nonconforming youth up to age 21.” Seattle Children’s plastic surgeons “have special training in gender-affirming surgery for teens and young adults.” It defines “gender affirming surgery” as “Surgery that supports a person’s gender identity” which “covers a wide range of procedures for people of all genders. Often, it means surgery for a transgender, nonbinary or gender-diverse person to relieve lasting gender dysphoria.”
Children’s National in Washington D.C. has a “A Multidisciplinary Program for Gender-Diverse Youth and Their Families” that “work[s] with gender exploring, gender non-conforming, gender dysphoric, gender non-binary, transgender and gender-questioning young people, and we see children and adolescents of all ages.” Children’s National has also developed “The Gender and Autism (and Related Neurodiversity) Program” which “supports gender-diverse and gender-exploring autistic youth.”
The Pediatric Adolescent Transgender Health Clinic (PATH Clinic) at UW Health “work[s] with gender expansive children and teens.”