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Meet Andy!

Andy is 19 years old, and from Portland.
Andy’s pronouns are he/him/his.

Andy has a cat named Edgar, and studied Art at Southern Maine Community College, graduating in May 2022! In his own words, “I’m studying art, but I’d like to go to law school and be a lawyer after I get my bachelors in art. I got my associates at SMCC, and then I’ll be going up to UMPI to work on that bachelors. Yeah I know those don’t match at all. I cannot see myself being an artist professionally, it would hinder my creative drive/spirit. I would like to be a lawyer professionally, and perhaps dabble in art on the side. I think art is my best gift and what I’m most natural at, but it’s one of those gifts that you rarely can benefit professionally/financially from.

“In my spare time, that’s used for teaching myself guitar (again), watching and listening to old rock music (oh, who am I kidding I do that nearly every waking moment), making art (usually of old and dead rock stars), and reading (which usually are rock biographies or autobiographies).”

Andy has also been a patient at the Gender Clinic at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital for about 5 years, and was willing to answer some questions to share his experience.

Andy and Edgar

When did you first come to the BBCH Gender Clinic, and how did you find it?

I first came to the Gender Clinic when I was 14… I had come out to my school therapist as transgender, and I also came out as transgender to my doctor, and I think they both referred me to the Gender Clinic. I was in a mode of questioning, probably nervous, but looking forward to receiving help and care.

Can you tell us a little bit about your experience at the BBCH Gender Clinic, and the care and treatment you’ve received?

When I first came, I remember I received therapy, gender-specific therapy, like talking about my inner feelings, etc. And I think that I received that for like a year, and then I decided I didn’t really need that anymore. And that was mainly because they also assisted me with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Then, after that, I received top surgery. I received that back in September. The surgeon does not work within the Gender Clinic, but the paperwork I needed, and the guidance I needed, was with the aid of the Gender Clinic.

Are there any Gender Clinic staff that you’ve worked with closely? Anyone special you’d like to mention or talk about?

Brandy has been my gender therapist at the Gender Clinic, and has been absolutely instrumental in my healthcare, and in me becoming a better person and receiving the healthcare that I needed. My HRT specialist is Toni, and all of the Gender Clinic staff take their patients very seriously, work really hard, and care a lot for their patients.

What does it mean to you to have the services of the Gender Clinic here in our community?

It’s a matter of life and death. If I was unable to get the spectacular medical care that I had received from this clinic, I likely would have the worst mental health if I was still alive. This is lifesaving/healing work and care, for more than just me. 

I’m speaking personally when I say this, but I know for sure that a lot of other transgender teenagers out there in the world, I know that receiving healthcare like this is a matter of life and death. It can really dreadfully impact a child’s mental health if they don’t receive this kind of gender-affirming healthcare. So I think it’s incredibly important. It’s healing and lifesaving.

What would you want other people to know about the BBCH Gender Clinic?

[For some parents] It may seem weird to change your kid’s hormones, or seem off putting to see a therapist let alone a gender therapist, but if you want happy or even alive kids, that will grow into happy and alive adults, we need this clinic and others like it. Put it to use!

About the Gender Clinic at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

The BBCH Gender Clinic is a multidisciplinary outpatient program, supporting transgender, gender diverse, gender expansive, and gender questioning young people. Patients come from every country in Maine and parts of New Hampshire, for care and support. The Gender Clinic supports both the patient and their family, providing both mental health and medical care, and works with young people up to their mid-20’s (age). Please visit the BBCH Gender Clinic’s webpage for more information.