National News

Transgender clinic for kids and teens opens in St. Louis

Posted August 7

— St. Louis is now home to a first-of-its-kind clinic for transgender teens and kids. It's being administered by Washington University physicians based out of St. Louis Children's hospital.

The clinic aims to provide transgender children and teens with comprehensive health care including mental health resources, hormonal therapy, voice therapy, and reconstructive surgery. Washington University physicians have been taking care of transgender children and teens since 2009 and noticed the growing demand which sparked the push to establish a fully operating clinic.

In 2016, Washington University physicians had 74 transgender patients. From just January to May 2017, they've already seen 71 patients.

This clinic is a huge milestone for the Seay family this month, especially for 15-year-old Leslie.

"Sometimes I identify as a girl, sometimes a boy, sometimes neither," said Leslie Seay.

She started exploring gender identity at 13-years-old, ultimately assigning to being gender fluid, which means she will always feel a mix of identifying between a boy and a girl.

"I would really like to go on hormone blockers so that my voice doesn't get any more feminine and [no] more feminine features show up," said Seay.

Leslie's identity is simple to her, so she needs a pediatrician who understands transgender health simply too.

"Having support and acceptance is extremely important for this patient population," said Dr. Christopher Lewis, founder and physician of the Transgender clinic. "Transgender patients already deal with harassment and discrimination within the medical community and that is a barrier to them accessing care."

Leslie's dad, Peter Seay, is thrilled to know his child is in safe, supportive care with an expertise in transgender health.

"To find out that the gender center was opening this month was something we've been celebrating for a little while. We've been very excited about this," said Peter Seay. "There could not be a greater value, the gratitude will not stop."

The Transgender Center of Excellence opened the first week of August. They are already booked through mid-September with new patient appointments. It's the only clinic of its kind within a 250-mile radius.

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