10/11/2013 06:34 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Transgender Youth Clinic Opens At Sick Kids Hospital


TORONTO - A new Toronto clinic for transgender youth is seeing its first patients today.

The clinic at Sick Kids hospital has officially opened and administrators say it will help fill an important gap in care for teens with gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria is diagnosed in people whose gender identity doesn't match their anatomical sex.

Sick Kids says gender dysphoria is relatively rare, but increased awareness and acceptance has led more teens to identify as transgender.

It says while there are two mental health clinics that provide the diagnosis in Toronto, the Sick Kids clinic is the first in the city to focus on medical care for transgender teens.

The hospital says without proper care, transgender teens can experience "negative consequences" such as mental health issues and risky behaviour.

Patients will work with an interdisciplinary team to ensure they get counselling and in some cases, will receive hormone therapy to prevent the changes associated with puberty, the hospital says.

The team includes physicians specializing in adolescent medicine and endocrinology, a nurse practitioner, a nurse and a social worker as well as children's mental health organizations.

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