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MN Joins States With Specialized Clinics for Transgender Youth

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Children's Minnesota says its new Gender Health program is one of only a handful of clinics in the country to provide specialized care to transgender teens. (archfieldoffice.com)
Children's Minnesota says its new Gender Health program is one of only a handful of clinics in the country to provide specialized care to transgender teens. (archfieldoffice.com)
December 10, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS — A recent study found more U.S. teens are identifying as transgender or gender nonconforming. Health-care providers are taking notice by opening clinics that provide specialized care for these youths.

That includes a facility that recently opened in Minneapolis. It's run by the Children's Minnesota health system. Dr. Angela Goepferd is the medical director for the program. She said kids who fall into this group face health disparities, and their parents often lack resources when seeking guidance.

"Families often don't know where to go or who to turn to with those questions,” Goepferd said. “And even when they do find themselves in their pediatrician or family-practice doctor's office, there's often still questions."

Goepferd said kids might need to see a consultant about how they want to identify, or they might seek gender-affirming hormone treatment. She said finding the right medical expert could take several months.

Children's Minnesota said its new clinic is one of only about a dozen of its kind in the nation. Goepferd said the lack of access has a lot to do with training.

"When I went to medical school, which was close to 20 years ago now, there was no training for how to take care of transgender and gender-diverse kids,” she said. “And so, I think even though there may be a positive intent to want to provide more information or care for families, I think a lot of people don't have the information that they would need to do that."

The study on transgender youth was conducted by the University of Minnesota. It looked at students in 9th and 11th grades and found nearly 3% were transgender or gender nonconforming. The report's authors say that figure is higher than estimates from any previous study.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN