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Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Seattle Children’s Hospital to open transgender care clinic

Seattle Children’s Hospital plans to open a clinic providing medical care for transgender youth.

The clinic, which will open Oct. 4, will offer puberty blockers, hormone therapy, mental health support and readiness discussions. The clinic will serve people up to 21 years old.

Dr. David Breland, a pediatrician who specializes in adolescent medicine, will run the clinic. The hospital’s adolescent medicine department is funding the clinic in conjunction with a $160,000 grant from the Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority.

Anna Altavas, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said the clinic is opening because “Dr. David Breland and his team are acknowledging care challenges faced by individuals with gender identity questions.”

On Friday the quarterly journal the New Atlantis released a report questioning the usefulness of providing medical and therapeutic services for transgender adolescents. The New Atlantis is published by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

In a news release, the editor of the journal, Adam Keiper, urged the clinic to be “mindful of the fact that there is much we still don’t know about the development of gender dysphoria and transgender identity in regards to children.”

However, research published by the University of Washington’s TransYouth Project in February showed that providing family and medical support for transgender children significantly reduces anxiety and depression.

Linda Gromko, a doctor in Seattle who specializes in transgender care, said, “It’s absolutely appropriate for a major children’s hospital to provide this kind of care.”

Gromko has worked with the transgender community for 19 years.

“We know that transgender youth have a suicide attempt rate that is close to half,” she said. “Early intervention, information and counseling is critical – plus the right thing to do.”

In June, The Spokesman-Review published a story about Rachel White, an 8-year-old transgender girl in Spokane. White plans to start taking hormone blockers when she reaches puberty.

Rachel’s mother, Betsy White, was glad to hear the hospital had opened a transgender care clinic, although, she said, “I wish it were here.”

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