Local organization boosts Children's Hospital's health services for transgender youth
CINCINNATI, OH. WRKC – Jessica and Chris Cicchinelli aren’t shy about their family and the challenges they’ve faced over the decade.
For years their oldest son tried to tell them he felt more like a girl than a boy but it didn’t click until two years ago.
“When my child kept coming up to me and saying, daddy, I’m a girl, daddy I’m a girl, we didn’t know what to do or where to turn,” said Cicchinelli, CEO of Pure Romance.
The family turned to the recently offered services at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. In 2013 health services for transgender youth were created. In the beginning, families would come and go but Cicchinelli says the program now is helping close to a thousand families. However, the staff is still the same size. So, the Cicchinelli’s decided to create The Living With Change Foundation and donated $2 million to make sure services continue and expand.
“This is the right place and the right time for this game-changing foundation to ensure that trans kids are safe,” said Cicchinelli. “40% of trans kids commit suicide or at least try.”
Current Cincinnati City Council member Chris Seelbach is the foundation’s executive director. Seelbach says getting into schools and businesses will also be a mission of the foundation. To educate and make kids feel safe.
“We want to be in their long before a trans kid comes out,” said Seelbach. “We want to be in schools to train educators, principals and summer camp youth staff on what happens when kids come out as trans and how you deal with bathrooms and pronouns and all of the things that are needed to make sure the kid is safe and included.”
The foundation will focus on four areas: family support, offering resources for parents; safer schools, partnering with Cincinnati Public schools to train staff; safe work place, offering corporate training, and policy to ensure equality in public places and health care.
“Nobody is out there talking about this. All of the people think this is a choice for these children, and it’s not a choice. This is who they are. I think this information needs to get out there to schools, to workplaces,” said Cicchinelli.
The Living with Change Foundation is a 501© 3 statue-pending nonprofit organization.