Check it out: SickKids opens a door to transgender youth

Timed with the Trans March in Toronto, a video addresses the need to support youth affirming their gender identity.

Demand for services supporting transgender people is growing, leading to a need for greater access to those services. SickKids’ transgender youth clinic, for example, currently receives 20 to 30 new referrals per month and has capacity for only 14 new assessments per month, resulting in a year-long waitlist that the hospital estimates is getting a month longer every month. And its clinic is one of the largest inter-professional clinics of its kind in the country.

To help generate support for its clinic and help more youth get access to its services, SickKids launched a digital and social spot ahead of the Trans March in Toronto last week, part of the city’s wider celebrations for Pride.

Developed in-house, with HeydSaffer managing filming and production, the video explores the ways puberty can be an even more difficult time for transgender youth. The young person in the video feels stared at and mocked by peers and worries about entering the washroom. It ends by contrasting that experience with arriving at SickKids’ clinic, where the person is warmly welcomed after being asked about their preferred name and pronoun.

For some, this can be a “pivot turning point where they finally seen and validated,” according to SickKids, which hopes to “remove barriers for transgender youth so they can access gender-affirming care in their home community and in the wider health-care system.”

“For transgender youth, puberty can be terrifying,” the hospital notes on its website. “Their bodies change in ways at odds with their identity. Those between the ages of 14 and 18 are at high risk for self harm and suicide. But SickKids is here to support them.”

The campaign ran on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and included a fundraising component through SickKids’ Get Better Gifts online donation program.