Gender Development Program

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 come to our gender identity clinic to receive high-quality, family-centered care. New patients may begin care with us up to age 22. These patients may continue services in our programs until their 25th birthday. 

Our patients generally fall within one or more of the following groups:

  • Gender expansive or 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 different from their assigned birth sex (e.g., “I was born a girl, but I am really a boy.”).

Learn more about respectful gender terminology


Our Philosophy

For even the most loving, affirming and resilient families, navigating childhood gender identity development can be confusing. 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.

Our Specialists

Our entire staff is dedicated to evaluating and treating pediatric patients from infancy through adolescence. Our specialists include:

  • Clinical psychologists
  • Endocrinologists 
  • Ethics consultants
  • Nurse practitioners 
  • Pediatricians 
  • School consultants 
  • Social workers 
  • Urologists

Meet all of our specialists

 

Appointments

To request an appointment with our Gender Development Program, please call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC). Because no two patients’ needs are the same, our program social worker will help you determine details of your first visit. 

To schedule a follow-up appointment with any of the following behavioral health providers: Dr. Diane Chen, Dr. Claire Coyne, Dr. Jon Poquiz or Paige Ryan, LCSW, please call our administrative professional, Tammi Tucker, at 312.227.5096.

Download our Gender Program Roadmap

Tests & Treatments

We want to work with you to determine the best care for you and your family. Some of our most common treatments include pubertal suppression therapy and hormone therapy for transgender males and transgender females.

While we believe in providing safe and effective care for our patients, the long-term consequences of some of the treatments are still unknown. Learn more about our treatments:

Resources & Support

We have many helpful resources for gender-questioning, gender expansive, and transgender youth, as well as their educators, fellow students, parents and allies.

Trainees & Visitors in the Gender Development Program

Lurie Children’s is a teaching hospital committed to the training of residents, fellows and medical students. If you are seeking education/training within the Gender Development Program, please email Gabriel Edwards (gedwards@luriechildrens.org) with a description of your current role, training goals and time frame.

In the News

View a list of articles to learn how our work fits into the community and what the media is saying about us. 

Research

Transgender Youth Care Study, “The Impact of Early Medical Treatment in Transgender Youth” (RO1 NIH)

This is a longitudinal observational study at four sites (Lurie Children’s, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Boston Children’s Hospital and the University of California at San Francisco) to examine the outcomes of existing medical treatment protocols for gender dysphoria in two distinct cohorts: youth initiating puberty suppression and youth pursuing a phenotypic gender change.

Survey instruments are used to collect demographic, mental health, psychosocial and behavioral data. Routinely collected anthropometric and physiologic parameters are obtained through chart abstraction. Enrollment began in August 2016 and will go through December 2018.

VIRTUAL VISITS: Gender Journey

NIH R01HD097122 Mar 21, 2019 - Feb 29, 2024
The Gender Journey project is a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded study led by Principal Investigator, Diane Chen, PhD. This is a longitudinal observational study at four sites (Lurie Children’s, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Boston Children’s Hospital and the University of California at San Francisco) investigating gender development and cognition amongst prepubertal transgender and gender-nonconforming youth. Survey instruments will be used to collect demographic, mental health, psychosocial and behavioral data from youth and their parent/caregiver. If you are interested in learn more about the study, please contact the research coordinator, Megan Runge, MS at mrunge@luriechildrens.org.

VIRTUAL VISITS: Project AFFRMED: Aid for Fertility-Related Medical Decisions

9/21/18–8/31/20 (R21 NICHD)
Project AFFRMED is a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-funded study led by Principal Investigator, Diane Chen, Ph.D. Project AFFRMED will develop and test a patient-centered Aid For Fertility-Related Medical Decisions (AFFRMED), a decision aid designed for transgender youth to facilitate informed discussions about potential fertility risk associated with standard-of-care gender-affirming treatments and decision-making about fertility preservation. This AFFRMED will incorporate input from both a transgender health and fertility medicine expert advisory panel and transgender youth and their parents. Pilot testing will determine the AFFRMED’s feasibility and efficacy in improving transgender youth and parents’ fertility knowledge.

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 or call 312.227.7251.