Transgender youth across the Greater Toronto Area now have a front line medical facility focused on their specific medical challenges.
The clinic, run out of the Sick Kids Hospital, will provide medical counsel and services to adolescents who are wrestling with their emerging sexuality.
“When [transgenders] have that disconnect between what’s going on in their mind and how their body’s changing, that’s what you call ‘gender dysphoria’,” said Dr. Joey Bonifacio, a physician in adolescent medicine and the clinic’s lead.
“If you’re able to block puberty through the use of hormone blockers then you’re able to put that body’s progression on hold.”
During the use of hormone blockers, patients can seek counselling without the stress and discomfort of physical changes. That is where staff members such as Katie Stadleman come in; she’s a social worker at the clinic.
“My role specifically is supporting families and young people in connecting with community support that are already out there,” Stadleman said.
“I also provide psycho-social support to the young person and their family during their time in the clinic.”
“This is definitely a stepping stone,” Bonifacio said. “[The clinic] benefits the transgender youth, first and foremost, because they are receiving that timely medical management if they so choose. I think it also benefits other transgender youth who may have not come out in the sense of creating this dialogue.”
The transgender youth clinic emphasizes a team approach when providing patients with medical and mental health support.
Their staff aims to maximize the potential for transgender youth in the city to have a happy and healthy future.