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Gender Development

Gender development services at Lurie Children's are outpatient services aimed at supporting the physical, mental and social health of patients and their families as youth progress through gender identity development. As specialists in pediatric and adolescent gender development, we recognize that when it comes to providing effective care “no one size fits all.” Therefore, our goal is to keep our families most informed of their treatment options, supporting them with medical and behavioral health care along the way.

Patients who come to our clinic to receive high-quality, family-centered care generally fall within one or more of the following groups:

  • Gender-non conforming children: Children and adolescents who exhibit behavior that is not typical of their assigned birth sex.
  • Gender-questioning youth: Children and adolescents who are questioning their gender identities (e.g., “I was born a girl, but I wonder if I’m really a boy?”).
  • Transgender and gender-fluid youth: Children and adolescents who identify as a gender identity different from their assigned birth sex (e.g., “I was born a girl, but I am really a boy.”).

Services & Support

Lurie Children's provides medical consultation, medical intervention (e.g., cross sex  and pubertal delaying hormones) and health research with gender-non conforming youth across the developmental spectrum of pediatrics and adolescence. In 2013, we expanded our program to include mental health services, non-clinical support services and capacity building with other youth-serving organizations. Our services include:

  • Comprehensive medical and psychological consultation for families with gender-non conforming, gender-questioning and transgender youth
  • Routine consultation, administration and monitoring of medical treatments:
    • To reversibly pause pubertal development among gender-questioning youth entering puberty
    • To initiate physical cross-sex transition among transgender adolescents

In addition to these services, we offer access to these support services:

  • Connection to legal consultation services (e.g., legal name changing, etc.)
  • Trainings and consultation with school systems
  • Ongoing play, socializing and support groups such as PeerWISE® and ParentWISE®
  • Consultation for community providers and clinicians to enhance gender-affirming care
  • A growing research program that aims to advance the understanding of gender identity development from childhood to young adulthood

To find out more information about our program, call Jennifer Leininger at 773.303.6056 or e-mail Jleininger@luriechildrens.org​.

Our Philosophy

For even the most loving, affirming and resilient families, navigating childhood gender identity development can be confusing, distressing and sometimes unclear. It can become more challenging as our patients and their families encounter difficulties posed by others, including extended family members, school officials and other community members. We help navigate these challenges by providing our families with education, exceptional and affirming clinical care, support, and ongoing consultation to ensure that children and families flourish safely in an environment that is both nurturing and affirming.

Experience

Our entire staff is dedicated to evaluating and treating pediatric patients from infancy through adolescence. Our specialists include:
  • Pediatricians
  • Endocrinologists
  • Urologists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Ethics consultants

The heads of the programs, Director Robert Garofalo, MD, MPH, and Director Earl Cheng, MD, started the program in 2013. Dr. Garofalo is board-certified in pediatrics and adolescent medicine. He also directs Lurie Children’s Adolescent/Young Adult HIV Program, the Division of Adolescent Medicine and the Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention at Lurie Children's Research Center.  He is a national expert on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health issues as well as adolescent sexuality and HIV infection.

Dr. Cheng is a board-certified pediatric urologist. Dr. Cheng completed his urology residency at Northwestern University and his pediatric urology fellowship at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.  He is a national expert in complex reconstructive urology and has a special interest in the medical and surgical management of individuals with disorders of sex development.

In the News 

Make an Appointment

To find out more information about our program or to request an appointment, call Jennifer Leininger at 773.303.6056 or e-mail Jleininger@luriechildrens.org.

Philanthropy

The creation of the  Gender and Sex Development Program at Lurie Children’s was made possible, in part, through private contributions. Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of all of our patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. To learn more, please contact Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at foundation@luriechildrens.org, call 312.227.7251 or make a gift today.

  PGSD’s Tuesday Clinic is an outpatient service aimed at supporting the physical, mental, and social health of patients and their families as youth progress through gender identity development. As specialists in pediatric and adolescent gender development, we recognize that when it comes to providing effective care “no one size fits all.” Therefore, our goal is to keep our families most informed of their treatment options, supporting them with state-of-the-art medical and behavioral health care along the way.   Who is Typically Served in PGSD’s Tuesday Clinic Patients who come to our clinic to receive high quality, family-centered care generally fall within one or more of the following groups:   •    Gender Non-conforming Children – Toddlers to pre-puberty aged children who exhibit behavior that is not typical of their assigned birth sex •    Gender-questioning Youth – Children and adolescents who are questioning their gender identities (e.g., “I was born a girl, but I wonder if I’m really a boy?”) •    Transgender and Gender-fluid Youth – Children and adolescents who identify as a gender identity different from their assigned birth sex (e.g., “I was born a girl, but I feel more like a boy.”)   Direct Services at PGSD’s Tuesday Clinic PGSD’s Tuesday Clinic at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Hospital provides medical consultation, medical intervention (e.g. cross sex  and pubertal delaying hormones), and health research with gender non-conforming youth across the developmental spectrum of pediatrics and adolescence.. In 2013, we expanded our state-of-the-art programming to include mental health services, non-clinical support services, and capacity building with other youth-serving organizations.   PGSD’s Tuesday Clinic services include:   •    Comprehensive medical and psychological consultation for families with gender non-conforming, gender-questioning and transgender youth   •    Routine consultation, administration and monitoring of medical treatments: o    to reversibly pause pubertal development among gender-questioning youth entering puberty o    to initiate physical cross-sex transition among transgender adolescents, aged 16 and older   In addition to its direct clinical services PGSD’s Tuesday Clinic offers access to the support services listed below. For more details on these services, please send an e-mail to _____@luriechildrens.org or call _______.   •    Connection to legal consultation services (e.g., legal name changing, etc.)   •    Trainings and consultation with school systems   •    Ongoing play, socializing and support groups such as PeerWISE® and ParentWISE®   •    Consultation for community providers and clinicians to enhance gender-affirming care   •    A growing research program that aims to advance the understanding of gender identity development from childhood to young adulthood     Our Clinic’s Philosophy For even the most loving, affirming and resilient families, navigating childhood gender identity development can be confusing, distressing, and sometimes unclear. It can become more challenging as our patients and their families encounter difficulties posed by others, including extended family members, school officials, and other community members. At PGSD, we help navigate these challenges by providing our families with education, exceptional and affirming clinical care, support, and ongoing consultation to ensure that children and families flourish safely in an environment that is both nurturing and affirming.   Meet PGSD’s Tuesday Clinic Treatment Team Robert Garofalo, MD, MPH (Pediatrician and Director) Travis Gayles, MD, PhD (Pediatrician) Courtney Finlayson, MD (Pediatric Endocrinologist) Marco Hidalgo, PhD (Clinical Psychologist) Diane Chen, PhD (Clinical Psychologist) Jennifer Leininger (Program Coordinator)     See PGSD’s Tuesday Clinic in the Press •    National Public Radio (WBEZ) •    NBC5 Chicago •    Chicago Tribune •    Windy City Times •    WTTW •    WGN •    Chicago Tonight Video •    Dr. Oz Video   Make an Appointment To find out more information about PGSD’s Tuesday Clinic or to request an appointment, call Jennifer Leininger at 773.303.6056 or e-mail Jleininger@luriechildrens.org.     Philanthropy The creation of the Program for Gender and Sexual Development at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago was made possible, in part, through private contributions. Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of all of our patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. To learn more, please contact Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at foundation@luriechildrens.org, call 312.227.7500 or make a gift today.  

 

Growing Up Trans:
A FRONTLINE Documentary

In Growing Up Trans, a 90-minute special on PBS, FRONTLINE takes viewers on an intimate and eye-opening journey into the lives of transgender patients in our Gender and Sex Development Program.

Watch the full documentary online.

While we believe in providing safe and effective care for our patients, the long-term consequences of some of the treatments are still unknown. Visit PBS.org to read an article in which our doctors discuss the risks and reasoning behind our care.


Our Patients & Families
Tell Their Stories

Patients and families from the Gender and Sex Development Program were featured in the FRONTLINE documentary, Growing Up Trans. They also  shared their personal stories with us on our blog. Visit the links below to read their posts.






Recognized Leader in
LGBT Care

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation recognized Lurie Children's as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” based on our top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate our commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families.