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Lurie Children’s Hospital Opens Region’s First Gender Identity Clinic

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Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital, the new home of Children's Memorial Hospital, will open on Saturday, June 9, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital, the new home of Children’s Memorial Hospital, will open on Saturday, June 9, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Midwest’s first ever gender identity clinic was opening Friday at Lurie Children’s Hospital in the Streeterville neighborhood.

WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports Dave, from northwest Indiana, is the father of a 9-year-old who was born a boy, but now identifies as a girl.

“I look back at when she was born and I realize that we always had a girl. We just didn’t know it,” Dave said.

He and his family are one of about 25 families who were already working with Dr. Rob Garofalo, who is leading the clinic.

“I think the most consistent thing I hear from patients is extreme thanks for having a place to be able to come and talk openly about this issue.”

No surgery has been performed on the patients at the clinic, but it is not out of the question in the future for older teenagers – with parental consent.

Sometimes drugs are given to block puberty, but they are reversible.

Garofalo said he acknowledges the issue of gender identity and children is controversial.

“This is an evolving field,” he said.”I guarantee you that five years from now, there will not be the controversy there is now.”

The patients range from 4 to 18 years old.

Dave said his daughter has been so much better since they went to the clinic.

“Her hair’s growing out,” he said. “She looks like a little girl already.”

For more information on the clinic, contact Jennifer Leininger at Lurie Children’s Hospital, 312-227-2951, or JLeininger@luriechildrens.org.

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