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A new clinic geared toward St. Louis transgender teens hopes to be a sort of one-stop shop for supporting trans youth.

After opening the first week of August, St. Louis' Transgender Center of Excellence is already booked through mid-September. It's one location complete with mental health, hormones, and other essential services, and it's getting rave reviews from patients already.

"Having support and acceptance is extremely important for this patient population," Dr. Christopher Lewis, physician and founder of the clinic, told WGN News. "Transgender patients already deal with harassment and discrimination within the medical community and that is a barrier to them accessing care."


A supportive medical environment is a big win for trans kids — take it from others, like myself, who wish those resources existed when we were growing up.

On Twitter, I reached out to my trans followers to find out what this type of clinic would have meant to them when they were younger. A few common themes emerged.

For many, it would have meant help and support for themselves and their parents.

Others remarked on how a supportive environment would have encouraged them to stop hiding, sidestepping some traumatic early-life experiences.

It would have provided a sense of identity for those who felt alone and isolated, who never saw accurate reflections of themselves in the media.

Then, the emails started rolling in. "If I'd had the words, if I'd known the concepts, if I had a supportive and professional environment to turn to. I would have been able to live without a dysphoria that came close to killing me, repeatedly," writes Alvhild Sand, a trans woman from Norway, about what a difference a resource like this would have made for her.

"It would have been fantastic if such a place had existed," writes Gwyn Ciesla, another trans woman, who grew up in a "highly Catholic town in the 1980s" where she was "not exposed to LGBTQ ideas or openly LGBTQ people."

"The only tools available were in the context of education, religion, and mental health, and were ineffective because they were incomplete," Ciesla explains. "If I had known then what I know now, and a clinic like this had been available, it would have been life-changing."

"Given what I did and didn't know at the time, I might not have been able to get to the point where I could take advantage of the clinic's services," Ciesla admits, expressing hope that "the presence of the clinic might have at least increased the information available to me and helped me to understand and begin to accept myself years earlier."

"I only survived my youth by a narrow margin, and I think this clinic might have widened that margin a lot. I hope this clinic can do that for youth now and in the future."

The new clinic in St. Louis joins a handful of other trans-specific children's medical programs across the country.

One of the most notable is the gender development services at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. The sad fact is that even though the Affordable Care Act effectively banned discriminating against people on the basis of their gender identity, many trans people continue to face either discrimination or confusion from their health care providers.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality's 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 33% of trans people who saw a health care provider in the previous year had at least one negative experience, were denied care, or had to actually teach their provider about trans patients. In other words, there's a lot of work to be done, and taking steps to ensure trans people have competent, knowledgeable medical care is a work in progress.

The new clinic in St. Louis is a big step in the right direction, providing care and benefits for years to come.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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