Press Release: Supervisor Wiener Calls for Hearing on Transgender Youth Issues, Challenges, and Policy Needs

Hearing will focus on major issues confronting transgender and gender non-conforming children, adolescents, and their families; research advances; and what policy and budgetary solutions San Francisco can pursue to embrace and support these young people

San Francisco — At this week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener called for a hearing on transgender and gender non-conforming children and adolescents, specifically, the needs of these young people and their families, including their health needs; the current state of the research in the area; and what the City of San Francisco can do to support these youth.

At the hearing, city departments, policy experts, medical professionals, and community leaders will be asked to present on research and other work to address the needs of young transgender and gender non-conforming people, as well as policy and budgetary ideas to address the issues facing this community.

We are seeing an increase in the number of school-age youth and adolescents transitioning genders. These young people face many challenges, including stigma, discrimination, bullying, misunderstanding, family support or lack thereof, and healthcare access. Moreover, one of the most serious and troubling issues confronting transgender and gender non-conforming youth is suicide, with thirteen known suicides this year to date.

“We need to do everything we can to support our transgender and gender non-conforming youth,” said Supervisor Wiener. “This is a vulnerable population that has unique needs, and we need to create an environment and safety net that support them. San Francisco has long been at the forefront of gender and LGBT equity and affirmation, and by strengthening our support for transgender young people, we will continue to be a national leader for this community.”

As is often the case, San Francisco is on the cutting edge of progressive approaches to the needs of the LGBT community, in this case transgender and gender non-conforming youth. UCSF, for example, has been engaging in innovative research into the health needs of these young people.

Dr. Stephen Rosenthal, one of the leading authorities on transgender and gender non-conforming youth, will present at the hearing. Dr. Rosenthal is medical director of the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Clinic, which offers comprehensive medical and psychological care, as well as advocacy and legal support, to gender non-conforming/transgender youth and adolescents. Founded in 2010, the program has quadrupled its clinical services, according to Rosenthal, and demand for services continues to grow. It is the only program in the country with an equal, interdisciplinary team of directors with the mental health, medical, advocacy and legal expertise necessary to support a healthy transition.

“There is a remarkable increase in transgender youth seeking medical services in San Francisco and all across the country,” said Rosenthal. “I look forward to partnering with the city to explore and address the significant challenges this young community faces.”

At the hearing, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Children Youth and their Families, and the Human Rights Commission will report on what support the city is currently providing and what the City can do to extend this support. The hearing will take place later this year.