A message from Boston Children's:
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.
Gender dysphoria occurs when there is a conflict between the gender you were assigned at birth and the gender with which you identity. This can create significant distress, and you may feel uncomfortable in your body. The Center for Gender Surgery at Boston Children's Hospital offers gender affirmation surgery services to eligible adolescents and young adults who are ready to take this step in their journey. It is the first center of its kind in the U.S. in a major pediatric hospital setting.
Our approach to gender surgery
As the first pediatric center in the country dedicated to the surgical care of transgender patients, we take an interdisciplinary approach from the start to ensure exceptional patient care. Our skilled team includes specialists in plastic surgery, urology, endocrinology, nursing, gender management, and social work, who collaborate to provide a full suite of surgical options for transgender teens and young adults. Our experienced anesthesia team works to provide culturally sensitive care to the gender-diverse community. By partnering with the hospital's nationally recognized Gender Management Service (GeMS), which provides a range of medical options for transgender youth, we help young people with gender identity concerns transfer seamlessly to surgical care if and when they are ready.
The center currently offers vaginoplasty, metoidioplasty, phalloplasty, chest reconstruction, breast augmentation, facial harmonization and other gender affirmation surgeries to eligible patients. We are guided by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) standards and other criteria to surgically treat people who are stable in their gender identity and have documentation of persistent gender dysphoria. You do not need to be a GeMS patient to have surgery at the center. All genital surgeries are only performed on patients age 18 and older.
Our areas of innovation in gender surgery
The Center's setting in an academic medical center means that our clinicians are able to benefit from Boston Children's rich community of scientific and clinical resources. As the Center grows, we hope to further expand our understanding of gender concerns and surgical techniques by leading and participating in various research projects. Our areas of interest include access improvements to gender-affirming surgery, fertility intentions and concerns of transgender young adults, and educational interventions regarding post-surgical self-care.