Gender-Variant, Gender-Questioning and Transgender Children
Gender Pathway Services at Children's Mercy provides interdisciplinary, family-centered services for transgender, gender-variant, and gender-questioning children. Our services are aimed at supporting the physical, mental and social health of patients and their families as they navigate the process of gender identity development.
As specialists in pediatric and adolescent development, we recognize that each patient has a different “pathway," so we provide care that is unique to each family. Our goal is to keep families informed of their treatment options, providing them with medical and emotional support, advocacy, and community resources.
Patients who come to our clinic to usually fall within one or more of the following groups:
- Gender non-conforming youth: Children and adolescents who exhibit behavior that is not typical of their assigned birth sex.
- Gender questioning youth: Children and adolescents who are questioning their gender identities (e.g., “I was born a girl, but I wonder if I’m really a boy?”).
- Transgender and gender-fluid youth: Children and adolescents who identify as a gender identity different from their assigned birth sex (e.g., “I was born a girl, but I am really a boy.”).
Our experienced social work team is one of the first points of contact at the Gender Pathway Services clinic providing support and advocacy for our patients and families as well as consultation and education for community partners, local school systems and other allies.
A Gender Pathway Services psychologist is available to provide a diagnostic evaluation and to make treatment recommendations. Gender Pathway Services patients are seen at least once a year by the multi-disciplinary treatment team, which includes professionals from social work, psychology, adolescent medicine, endocrinology and chaplaincy and hearing and speech, if needed. Ongoing mental health support is generally provided in the community, but psychologists are available to consult with community therapists as needed.
An endocrinologist will recommend blood work to look for biologic changes that may contribute to feelings of transgender and treat those if needed. They are also available to discuss puberty-blocking and cross-sex hormones at appropriate ages, monitor their effects, and help guide patients who desire gender confirmation surgery to appropriate surgeons.
Faculty and Staff
Our team of pediatric specialists cares for patients with any gender variance. Patients receive care from specialists who work together to provide evidence-based care that is informed by the Clinical Practice Guidelines established by the Endocrine Society and Standards of Care proposed by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH).
Director of Disorders of Sexual Development and GUIDE Clinics; Professor of Pediatrics/Endocrinology, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
Clinical Psychologist; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
Director, Diabetes Center; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
Child Psychologist; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
APRN, FNP, BC
Beth A. Sonneville, MDiv, BCC
Please note, if you are uncomfortable speaking with the staff chaplain, simply inform staff upon check-in.
GPS Clinic Social Worker
If you need to cancel your GPS appointment please call (816) 960-8803. We appreciate you calling in advance if you need to cancel, so we can try to keep our waiting list for GPS appointments as short as possible. Thank you for your help and consideration.
Recognized Leader in LGBT Care
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation recognized Children's Mercy as a "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality" based on our top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate our commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families.
Gender Spectrum - Education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.
Growing Up Trans: A FRONTLINE Documentary
Trans Youth Equality Foundation (TYEF)
The Trevor Project - Transgender people in crisis should contact The Trevor Project's 24/7 Lifeline at (866) 488-7386 or by Trevor Chat, the Trevor Project's online messaging service. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)