The Children’s Medical Center in Dallas has launched a program for transgender adolescents. They are dedicated to working with children from 5-8 years old with mental and body development, healthcare, and living with Gender Dysphoria.
Nell Gaither, who grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, didn’t figure out that she was transgender until she was 40.
“It was just not something that you even knew how to put into words, or how to discuss,” she told The Huffington Post. “There was not any good language for it, or much information at all about it.”
Over the last two years, a quiet but significant change has occurred in nearby Dallas, where Gaither, now 54, lives today. The Children’s Medical Center in Dallas has launched a program for transgender adolescents, and this spring, the clinic will get its own space within the hospital. It is the first and only transgender pediatric program in the Southwest.
“I really wish that I was young now, that I’d grown up and been born in 1990, ’95,” Gaither said this week. “I think that I would have been able to be more fully who I am.”
The program already has about 60 patients, ranging in age from 5 to 18 years old. It’s one of a growing number around the country dedicated to helping children and teens with gender dysphoria, where a person does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Doctors at the Dallas center offer medical treatments like hormone therapy and puberty blockers, which can delay the onset of puberty, as well as mental health support for patients and their families.
Kammie, a 16-year-old girl in the program, describes it as a huge milestone in her life. With the guidance of her endocrinologist, Dr. Ximena Lopez, she’s started taking estrogen. “When everyone else was developing, all the other girls were getting more curvy, I was still stuck,” Kammie said.
Kammie grew up outside of Birmingham, Alabama, in an area her mother calls “the sticks.” From the time she was old enough to walk and talk, Kammie identified as a girl. Her mother knew it, even if she didn’t know what it meant exactly. When Kammie drew a picture of herself, she would draw a girl. When the family went to McDonald’s, she “threw a fit” if she didn’t get a girl’s toy. “Looking back, it was never Kammie that changed,” said her mother, Cristina Pippin, a registered nurse. “We changed.”