SAN DIEGO–The Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego Gender Management (GeM) Clinic has been named the 2015 San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) summer concert series Outreach Partner.
The Chorus is celebrating its 30th anniversary with “Imagine—The Music of Lennon and McCartney” on July 25 and 26 at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego.
Since opening in 2012, the GeM Clinic has treated more than 80 transgender patients.
“There is a lot of stigma, bullying and struggles around these kids,” said Endocrinologist Dr. Maja Marinkovic, who directs the GeM Clinic along with Endocrinologist Dr. Ron Newfield. “We see how much they suffer.”
Indeed, the alarming fact is that children who feel they were born into the body of the opposite gender face the highest suicide rate, explained Dr. Newfield, given the fact that their own reflection is a constant reminder that they are in the “wrong body.” In San Diego county alone, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in June that at least three transgender teens have already taken their own lives in 2015.
Helping to raise awareness of the clinic and the available care for transgender children is why the chorus chose the GeM Clinic as its outreach partner for its summer season, according to SDGMC President Bob Lehman. Earlier this year, the chorus launched its SD Youth Pride Chorus for young people of all genders and orientations including gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.
“We’re hoping to raise awareness of the incredible work the GeM Clinic is doing to help our transgender friends and family,” said Lehman. “For too long, these kids have suffered with little to no help in sight. Now, they can see a great future ahead and a chance to live great lives.”
The chorus has a long history of community service through its outreach program recognizing organizations that have had a major, positive impact on San Diego. Past partners have included the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Diego, Mama’s Kitchen, Voices for Children foster services, San Diego’s performing arts high school, the Veteran’s Village of San Diego and the San Diego Women’s Chorus.
Audience members at “Imagine” will have the opportunity to learn more about Rady Children’s and the GeM Clinic before the show and during intermission at the front lobby information table. Donations to help with the GeM Clinic’s programs and “wish list” items will also be accepted at the concerts.
“The work at the GeM Clinic is both important and inspirational,” said Dr. Carlos Salazar, SDGMC’s Outreach Director. “They are changing lives and saving lives—one child at a time.”
The clinic’s services are open to children and adolescents beginning at age five, with its youngest patient six years of age. According to Dr. Marinkovic, patients come from all walks of life including cultural, racial and economic backgrounds. Patients are treated both medically with early puberty blocking and hormonal care (for those around 16 years of age) and mentally with professional counseling.
“It’s so exciting to see how they flourish and blossom,” Dr. Marinkovic noted. “It is our goal for them to be happy, healthy adults.”