Chicago Doctor Wants To Develop Clinic For Transgender Children

CHICAGO (CBS) — A doctor at Children’s Memorial Hospital he would like to help develop a clinic for transgender children.

Dr. Joel Frader, who is also a professor at Northwestern University, made the remarks following a report published Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics, which indicated that a growing number of teens and even younger kids are experiencing gender identity disorder.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports

Frader says he would like to model the clinic after a similar one at Children’s Hospital Boston. Pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Norman Spack is the author of one of three reports on transgender children published by Pediatrics Monday.

WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports experts say a child or adolescent facing gender identity issues can be left feeling isolated and depressed.

“Many of them do cut themselves or otherwise harm themselves,” Frader said.

Children with gender identity issues also sometimes face severe psychiatric problems and higher risks of abuse and posttraumatic stress in adulthood, CBS News reports.

Public awareness about the needs of transgender youngsters has been growing in recent years. In 2009, the public radio program “This American Life” featured a well-received segment on two 8-year-old girls – Lilly and Thomasina – who were both born boys, and who bonded at a conference on transgender parenting their families attended.

In the segment by “This American Life” producer Mary Beth Kirchner, Thomasina’s mother recalled a remark by her transgender daughter, originally called Tom: “He said, ‘I’m mad at God, because I’m a girl, but I’m not.’”

But intervention isn’t always easy, Dr. Scott Leibowitz of Children’s Hospital Boston told CBS News.

“Parents don’t always want to bring their kids in for treatment. It’s a stigmatized issue,” he said. “Pediatricians don’t always fully understand how to handle the complex issues.”

The study says transgender teens and young children are getting sex-changing treatment at U.S. clinics, including drugs to stop puberty and sex-changing hormones.

“At the time that they enter puberty, the administration of hormone-blocking agents which prevents the development of what doctors call secondary sexual characteristics,” Frader said.

The numbers of children and teens receiving such treatment are small, but on the rise.

The Associated Press reports the study followed 97 girls and boys, the youngest of whom was only 4. They received reversible treatments that delayed puberty, and all but one ended up going ahead with further treatment.

Spack’s clinic does provide low doses of sex hormones, but does not conduct gender reassignment surgery that would involve the creation or removal of a penis, which is reserved only for those over 18, the Associated Press reports. His clinic has worked with surgeons on breast removal surgery with 16-year-old girls, but such surgery can be minor if puberty is halted, the Associated Press reports.

While switching gender roles and play-pretending to be the opposite sex is common in young children, the ones receiving treatment actually feel they are in the wrong bodies, the Associated Press reports.

Some ethicists say the treatment of transgender children under 18 raises concerns. But doctors who provide it reiterate that these kids often try suicide or self-mutilation until they get sex-changing treatment.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Ed.

    Any intervention with pre-pubescent children is a mistake. The parents of young children with alleged gender identity issues need to be evaluated. Young children are heavily influenced by their parents.

    • single payer

      Another parasite medi-crat trying to find ways to squander the national trust, when we could have had a single healthcare plan 70 yrs ago covering EVERYBODY. We already paid for it 100-fold.

  • Tom

    Unplug the T.V. and Hollywood and 99% of the problems go away.

  • Welfare Mom

    Do we really need special clinics for people who want to change the way they were born? If so, what about people who wish to be a different nationality, or different species altogether? Needless to say, I know a guy who always wanted to be a tiger.

  • Jen Marcus

    Forgive me, but people who believe that being transgender is purely a mental disorder are usually ignorant of biological, genetic, human embryological ,endocrinological,physiological ,and anatomical components of human development.It is not simply matter of XX or XY chromosomes or ostensible sex organs.Your basic sixth grade science or childhood religious training based on pre- scientific Bronze Age texts doesn’t cut it any more.My advice to you is get educated and stop putting your head in the sand because the facts make you uncomfortable or they create more existential angst because it doesn’t fit in your understanding of the nature and the universe.

  • Rahm Emanuel

    Great idea! Chicago needs MOAR dysfunctional democrat voters!

  • ban yuwan ji

    “a report published Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics, which indicated that a growing number of teens and even younger kids are experiencing gender identity disorder.”

    There’s not a growing number experiencing it, there’s a growing number feeling safe enough to tell someone about it, thanks to humanity slowing evolving into something that resembles intelligence and compassion.

  • Afro

    Any medical doctor that suggests hacking around on, mutating, and mutilating children, so he can justify a job for himself should be forced to surrender his license. How about this one, I have an identity problem, I want to be a sea turtle, and the answer is? Well it’s not going to happen!

    • Caroline

      Look up Dr. John Money or read anything about the medical standards of normalization of intersex infant’s bodies, and you’ll learn that there are plenty of doctors already making jobs for themselves by, “hacking around on, mutating, and mutilating children”, the only difference is that those doctor’s work is seen as socially acceptable because it enforces, not deconstructs, the (socially constructed) gender binary system.

  • Darlene Tando, LCSW

    This article has a crucial error it it. It states that of the 97 children who received hormone blockers, only one continued with permanent treatment. It is the opposite.
    “Only one of the 97 opted out of permanent treatment, Dr Spack said.”

  • Tom Nowacki

    As a transgender adult hear in Missouri where such services are rare I would like to applaud this doctor in seeing a problem and tiring to help transgender children growing up with this difference in the Chuicagoland area was rough. I wish these services were available to me and my parents back i9n 60’s and 70’s

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