A Message from Kevin B. Churchwell, MD (President and Chief Executive Officer)
You may be aware that in states across the country there is a recent increase in proposed legislation aiming to restrict the rights of transgender and gender diverse youth. Many of these bills aim to restrict access to medical care and limit children and adolescents who identify as gender diverse from participation in sports.
Boston Children’s Hospital has always been and always will be committed to providing the best care for ALL of our patients, regardless of their gender identity. The belief that all children deserve the opportunity to live, grow and thrive with love and support, is foundational to who we are and what we do.
At Boston Children’s, we are proud to be home to the first pediatric and adolescent transgender health program in the United States, the Gender Multispecialty Service (GeMS), which has cared for more than 1,000 families to date. We believe in a gender-affirmative model of care, which supports transgender and gender diverse youth in the gender in which they identify. This is a standard of care grounded in scientific evidence, demonstrating its benefits to the health and well-being of transgender and gender diverse youth. In addition to supporting our patients and families, we stand with our colleagues who may identify as transgender or gender diverse, those who provide care to transgender youth and who are allies to the transgender community.
The proposed bans on medical care, sports participation and other legislation aiming to restrict the rights of transgender and gender diverse youth are in direct opposition to our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusivity, as well as the standard of care that we live by. Here in Massachusetts, we have been fortunate—there has not yet been movement on any of these initiatives. You may recall that in 2016, Massachusetts voters upheld legislation designed to protect the rights of transgender residents in public accommodations. Boston Children’s was proud to be part of the coalition that worked in support of that ballot question.
I also want to let you know that Boston Children’s has signed on as an endorsing organization of the Equality Act, which is federal legislation that would provide affirmative, legal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans both in the workplace and the community by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected characteristics in federal civil rights laws.
We are here to affirm, uplift, and advocate for transgender and gender diverse youth, and we remain committed to doing all we can to support their care and well-being.
If you have any concerns about policies or legislation happening in Massachusetts, please reach out to the Office of Government Relations at CAN@childrens.harvard.edu.
The Gender Multispecialty Service (GeMS) at Boston Children’s Hospital is committed to providing the highest level of individualized, safe, and affirmative care to gender-diverse and transgender individuals and their families. Founded in 2007, GeMS was the first major program in the U.S. to focus on gender-diverse and transgender adolescents. Since that time, we have expanded our program to welcome patients from ages 3 to 25.
At GeMS, our mission is to assess and care for gender-diverse children, teens, and young adults through excellence in clinical care, advancement of research, and training other clinicians. We take a team approach to gender-affirmative care, partnering with experts from many different specialties, both at Boston Children’s and the community. These include:
- primary care
- adolescent medicine
- individual, group, and family therapists
- plastic surgery and the Center for Gender Surgery
- reproductive endocrinology
- schools and academic institutions
- LGBTQ+ support groups and organizations
Together, we provide physical and psychological assessment, ongoing medical care, and additional referrals as needed. We now also offer telehealth visits to eligible patients when appropriate.
The Behavioral Health, Endocrinology, Urology (BE-U) program at Boston Children’s Hospital is dedicated to providing care and support to infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with differences/disorders of sex development.
Our areas of innovation
The GeMS program is actively engaged in research with the hope that it will ultimately benefit the children, adolescents, young adults, and families with whom we work. We have received funding for our research form the National Institutes of Health and collaborate with many other gender centers throughout the United States.
Our research interests span medical, psychological, developmental, and social issues and include:
- impact of medical treatments on health and well-being
- impact of medical treatments on psychological well-being
- reproductive health, including fertility counseling and disease prevention
- gender development and well-being of prepubescent gender-diverse children
- predictors of well-being in transgender and gender-diverse children, including family and social support