DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Children's Medical Center in Dallas has unveiled the first pediatric transgender program in the Southwest.
15 year old Kammie is the first person to publicly speak about the program and she is not releasing her last name.
"I've dealt with ridicule. I've dealt with my whole family just kind of disowning me because they didn't under it" says Kammie.
Kammie's mother says it has been a difficult transition that she first noticed when her son, Cameron, was about 18 months old and preferred playing with girls' toys. "I grew up a very devout member of the church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints" says Christina Pippin, Kammie's mother. "I was excommunicated when I made the decision to embrace my child. But I was going to embrace my child before I was ever going to lose her" Pippin says.
Children's Medical Center call is the GENECIS program – the Gender Education and Care, Interdisciplinary Support Program. According to the hospital it focuses on helping children and teens with issues surrounding gender dysphoria, when a person does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Doctors say Gender dysphoria is frequently associated with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
"They feel like they don't belong to either gender, so when they're very young, it's hard" says Dr. Ximena Lopez, Endocrinology for Children's Medical Center. "They've gone through very stressful puberty and at that time they have attempted to kill themselves, a lot of times, and so I think parental support is key."
"There was no point in living an unhappy life and so then I started contemplating suicide" says Kammie. "You know that's a big thing with transgender children because it's not openly talked about around schools and places like that" she adds.
Kammie's mother says it reached a critical point when her son, Cameron, was in the fourth grade. "I think it was hardest when Kammie got so depressed and discouraged and despondent that she didn't want to live anymore" says Pippin.
Kammie is now on puberty blockers, which are reversible, and hormone treatment therapy. Dr. Lopez says the program at Children's Medical Center is only for children. Surgery to anatomically change the body is done at other adult hospitals. Kammie says she plans to change her male body to a female body when she reaches adulthood.
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