“I needed to tell my family because I was keeping this whole chunk of my life apart from them,” he said. “I felt like I was lying to them. I finally came out to them, and it was such a good response. It’s been great being able to be open about who I am.”
Being open about his identity was a big step for Adrian, who was born a girl. But that was only the beginning. Finding his way in the world as a transgender male will be a long process that requires education, guidance, and support, not only for him but also for his parents and sister.
He found all that and more at the Duke Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care. The clinic, which opened in 2015, serves children who are transgender and those born with conditions affecting internal and external sex organ development, called differences in sex development (DSD). The first of its kind in North Carolina and only one of a few located in the Southeast, it is staffed by providers from an array of disciplines at Duke, including endocrinology, social work, urology, pediatric surgery, child and adolescent medicine, psychiatry, psychology and pastoral care. Their goal is to work together to provide evidence-based, patient- and family-centered care. The clinic is open one full day and one half day each month. Patients come from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida. The clinic served 127 patients during its first year, and administrators anticipate nearly doubling that number next year.