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Duke opens center for transgender adolescents

Monday, September 21, 2015
By Mary Katherine Wildeman for the News & Observer

Mac and Katy Schafer of Raleigh say they don’t know what they would have done without the help they found at Duke. Their daughter Hunter, who transitioned from male to female as a teenager, needed hormone treatments, and without Duke there would have been nowhere else to go.

Deanna Adkins, the endocrinologist who treated Hunter, recently founded a new center for gender-related disorders at Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center. The Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care, which opened in July, is the first of its kind in North Carolina and one of only a handful in the Southeast.

Adkins said more people are realizing that it’s possible to treat gender dysphoria, a condition in which a person’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female doesn’t match his or her biological sex. For kids like Hunter, getting treatment early can mean a huge improvement in their quality of life, she said.

The Schafers say the support of Adkins and her colleagues made all the difference. “In a very tangible way, it changed our journey and changed our lives.” Mac Schafer said.

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