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Drew Adams: We"ve been in the oto for eight hours now. And we are stuông xã in traffic.

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Mary Harris: This is Drew Adams. He is 15 years old. He is riding shotgun in his mom’s SUV.

They are on an all-day road trip, recording the drive on Drew"s phone.

Erica Adams: Okay, so legit question. If we have to lớn stop và use the restroom, which one are you planning khổng lồ use?

MH: Drew’s mom Erica is asking her son which bathroom he’s going khổng lồ use. Because Drew is trans. He was born a girl. And this road trip is heading right inkhổng lồ the heart of this whole transgender controversy, North Carolina. Drew sort of dodges his mom"s question, và says he""ll try not khổng lồ stop at all.

DA: I"ll figure it out when I get there. If I get there.

EA: Okay, alright.

MH: You have probably heard about HB2 - North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill”. It bans people like Drew from using public restrooms that don’t match up with their biological sex. And it"s made this state inkhổng lồ a place a lot of people are trying to lớn avoid. Ringo Starr và Bruce Springsteen have sầu both canceled performances in North Carolina. PayPal và the NBA have sầu pulled business giao dịch out of the state. But Drew and his mom are driving eight hours from Jacksonville, Florida to get here because North Carolimãng cầu is also home page lớn one of the only clinics in the South that treats transgender kids.

EA: The drive up here every time we stopped for a bathroom break & Drew would go into a men"s room, I held my breath because you just don"t know. You don"t know if he"s going to walk out everything’s going khổng lồ be fine, you don"t know if he’s going to lớn be in there awhile, you’re going lớn stand there and go I wonder if anybody else is in there. I wonder if they"re giving him trouble I wonder if he"s having lớn defover himself I don"t know what"s going on in there.

MH: I’m Mary Harris and this is Only Human. This week, we followed Drew và his mom khổng lồ the child & adolescent gender clinic at Duke University. We spent a day here, following patients & specialists in exam rooms & waiting rooms và break rooms because, while the debate about transgender rights keeps raging on, more và more kids are showing up here.

The clinic is only open a couple of days a month. It"s part of Duke"s children"s hospital, a sunny, modern addition to lớn the main hospital next door. There’s a giant fish tank when you walk in, & everything - the armchairs, the art - is crayola-colored & bright. At 9 am, Drew and Erica check in at reception.

Receptionist: Drew, when’s your date of birth?

MH: A sign on the desk reads “We value diversity: tell us your pronouns!” They’re all over the hospital, actually, asking kids to tell doctors whether they go by “hlặng,” “her,” or “they.”

R: Who’s your primary care doctor?

DA: Dr. Tarbox.

DA: Drew looks pretty androgynous. Drew has blond hair cut short, with a sweep of bangs across his forehead. He has a ring through the center of his nose, & as the medical assistant gets his height và weight, Drew squints at her through his wide, wire-frame glasses.

Medical Assistant: I’m going to lớn get your blood pressure.

MH: This is Drew’s second time here. He has been living as a boy for about a year: asking friends và teachers lớn Call hyên “he”. Now he"s looking to lớn start his physical transition. He"s hoping the doctor will prescribe testosterone, a once a month injection.

MA: Alright did you guys have sầu any other questions or concerns about anything? No.

MH: While they’re waiting for the doctor, my producer Jillian asks Drew about the shirt he"s wearing.

Jillian Weinberger: Can you tell me what your t-shirt says?

DA: Yeah, it says this is what trans looks like & the word trans is in trans flag colors.

JW: Where did you get that T-shirt?

DA: Mom made it.

MH: A few months back, Drew"s mom posted a “re birth announcement” on Facebook -- coming out as a mom of a trans kid. Today she"s wearing this little button that says "I"ll go with you." It means she"ll go to the bathroom with anyone who feels unsafe going on their own.

Erica"s learned to lớn embrace Drew"s new identity because when he was living as a girl, she says he was really anxious and depressed.

EA: Then after he came out as trans it was lượt thích flipping a light switch. Suddenly he has not had an issue with anxiety or depression pretty much since that day. He"s been so confident, he"s been so positive, he"s so bright -- that"s kind of his mood all the time now.

MH: She doesn’t lượt thích talking about what Drew’s life was lượt thích before he started transitioning. But when I asked her how she knew living as a boy was the right choice for Drew, she was blunt. She said: “I’d rather have sầu a living son than a dead daughter.”

Dr. Deanna Adkins: Hey! How are you?

DA: I’m great.

Dr. A: Excellent.

MH: Dr. Deanmãng cầu Adkins started this clinic. She’s an endocrinologist - a hormone doctor.

Dr. A: Anything new since I saw you last? Medically.

DA: No.

Dr. A: You’ve sầu been healthy? Excellent.

MH: Drew is almost giddy to see her. When she walks in, his only question is when can I start testosterone.

Dr. A: Today. Sound good!? Yeah! All right.

MH: Drew will start out on a fraction of the dose an adult would get. But there are still a lot of unknowns about what these hormones will vì, long-term. When Dr. Adkins leaves lớn write up a prescription, the clinic’s social worker comes in. She’s got this packet of paper that lists every potential side effect of this treatment, & she starts reading off these statements for Drew to agree with.

Kristen: I underst& that the medical effects và the safety of testosterone are not completely known. There may be some long term risks that are not yet known.

MH: Drew is required lớn affirm that he’s heard all of them, và it’s a long danh sách. The hormones might give sầu hlặng headaches, high blood pressure, an inflamed liver…

K: Emotional changes -- for example more aggression. I know that the effects of testosterone on fertility are unknown. I have been told that I may or may not be able to lớn get pregnant even if I stop taking testosterone.

MH: Going through these side effects takes nearly đôi mươi minutes.

K: I know that using testosterone to lớn appear more masculine is an off-label use. I know this means that is not approved by the government.

MH: Drew signs one final form. And Dr. Adkins comes baông chồng with the prescription.

Dr. A: Alrighty. Guess what I have sầu in my hand?

DA: Happy drugs.

Dr. A: Yay! Yay!

DA: I have sầu one question. Yes. So you said you know you can give sầu me a shot right now. No. What if I went to the hospital pharmacy, picked this up, and gave me the shot in the hotel. Can I vị that?

Dr. A: Yes, you can bởi that.

DA: YAY! I can vì that! I can get my shot today. Cause I told all my friends I was going lớn get it today.

MH: And Drew does give himself the shot that day -- in a conference room at the hospital. He sets up his iPhone to lớn record it...

DA : This is a big moment for me, yes. So I want khổng lồ blog it...purple needle...okay testosterone...put the needle in the thingy...I did it! I"m on testosterone. I did it!

MH: How vày you feel?

DA: Great!

MH: OK so how many friends have sầu you texted already?

DA: I posted about it on Instagram so that’s about 550 right there. And then my best friover Amãng cầu.

MH: Drew has created a whole online identity as a trans kid. He has a youtube channel, & he sells pride tattoos on etsy.

MH: Drew came out as transgender after watching an episode of “Ellen” featuring a trans man named Aydian Dowling. Aydian’s online video chronicling his transition has more than half a million views.

Aydian Dowling: And I started Googling ‘girl that becomes a boy’ and ‘how khổng lồ grow up to lớn be a man’ & for the next 48 hours it was videos và links & articles & everything was just totally involved.

Ellen: I think I have sầu to lớn say at this point -- I think people’s fear of like, oh my god, if it’s just floating out there, then my child is going to just look on the mạng internet and become a different gender. I don’t think it works that way.

AD: No, it was more lượt thích this was the missing puzzle piece.

MH: But Aydian started his transition at 21. Drew is fifteen.

MH: Do you ever worry you"re making this big decision. Like what if I change my mind.

DA: Absolutely not. This is the happiest I’ve been all my life. Like today getting that prescription -- that"s probably the happiest I"ve sầu been.

MH: Even just a few years ago, hormones might not have been an option for a kid like Drew. This clinic is brvà new. Dr. Adkins opened it only a year ago.

MH: Whendidyouseeyourfirstpatientwhowas trans?

Dr. A:Ohwow.Ihave tothinkabout that. I want to lớn say 2012.2012.


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Dr. A:Yeah.

MH: When she was in medical school, Dr. Adkins trained to treat kids with diabetes or growth hormone deficiencies. But in 2012, she got a call from a physician in New York City. He had a transgender patient who needed a local doctor.

Dr. A: I said wow I don"t know what to lớn vị. I"ve never studied that, I hadn"t been trained lớn do that và he said That"s OK I wrote the articles, I"ll skết thúc them khổng lồ you & so he sent me all his articles.

MH: Deciding lớn treat that first patient wasn’t easy for Dr. Adkins. She spent about a month going baông xã và forth about it. She knows that in North Carolina, patients like hers are targets. And that means she is too.

Dr. A: It was a big decision for me. I mean we"re at risk too, just like our patients & there are some not so nice people that would push us around or say ugly things about us because we"re doing this work.

MH: So safety is a big concern for her, but it’s the patients she really worries about. Patients like Jaye.

Assistant: This is Jaye.

MH: Hi nice lớn meet you.

JW: Nice to meet you.

MH: I’m Mary.

JW: I’m Jillian.

MH: We walk into lớn Jaye’s appointment just after lunch. Jaye is an 18 year old African-American trans woman who lives just outside Raleigh. She’s here to get a prescription for estrogen -- Dr. Adkins is ticking off the side effects.

Dr. A: Sometimes the risk increases for diabetes. Any in the family? (Yes). Your mom?

J: My mom, grandfather, brother.

MH: Jaye’s dad was supposed lớn be here, but in the over, she is here alone.

Dr. A: Alright I"m going to lớn give sầu you a little bit of a once over. Just the usual. Let me wash my hands…

MH: Jaye is incredibly thin và perfectly styled. She has long nhái eyelashes và lots of pink eyeshadow. The only real sign that she wasn’t born a girl is the distinct shadow of hair on her neông xã. She’s hoping that’s about to change. She says she"s going to pichồng up her prescription as soon as she leaves the doctor.

J: I"m going lớn go marching in there, I"m probably going to twerk khổng lồ the counter (laughs). This is a really good feeling for me. I’m not able lớn scream lượt thích I would at trang chủ. But I would be screaming right now.

MH: What are you most looking forward to?

J: To be honest I"m ready for my boobies. <> I’m been already been a long time for you know khổng lồ be able khổng lồ develop breasts.

MH: How long have you known that you’re trans?

J: Well, at first, when I was younger, I would first get into nail polish và eyeliner và my mom would notice và asked me if I wanted to lớn be a girl.

MH: When she was younger Jaye didn’t think she did want to lớn be a girl. She came out as gay, và her mom was pretty supportive of that. But when Jaye told her mom she was trans…

J: She was angry at me, she thought I was lying to lớn her, I was living a lie. And it just just took me by surprise that she you know wouldn’t accept me the way I thought she would.

MH: Because she"d been asking you: Do you want to be a girl, vày you want lớn be a girl?

J: And I would say no, no I"m not.

MH: And then you were like hold it, maybe I am.

J: And that kind of confused her, threw her off. My dad had a really hard time with it -- it became an unspoken thing. But my mom she got most of the flack from it you know from my family they were asked why I was like that. And eventually they started to lớn underst& that I couldn"t help the way I was and they started understanding that this is a real thing, I’m not acting, this isn’t a phase. They don"t use my pronouns.

MH: So your family still calls you he?

J: Yes

MH: Your mom và dad, too?

J: My mom -- she’s saying she. My dad calls me he still.

MH: So part of the reason we’re here is because North Carolina"s been in the news so much because of this bathroom law. You got a look on your face when I said that.

J: Since I"ve sầu lived here in North Carolina I know how it is, & people I know from out of state say it’s not that bad và I"m lượt thích yes it is. I know a lot of discrimination, know places not khổng lồ go I could be hurt. And I just knew for a long time it would over up coming khổng lồ light & it would be nasty.

MH: She can recite the names of trans women of color who have sầu been killed over the last couple of years. She’s scared that if she does something kind of normal - like make the first move sầu with a guy - she’ll get hurt. Physically.

MH: How vì chưng you keep yourself safe in the outside world?

J: I stay home. It shouldn"t be that way but, otherwise, you know I lượt thích khổng lồ travel in groups; I don"t like lớn go anywhere late at night. I don"t lượt thích to-- I don"t seek out men. A lot of places don’t feel safe. Work doesn’t feel safe sometimes. Home doesn’t feel safe sometimes. I"m safe when I’m by myself.

Dr. A: Alright, here is the discharge information. It has your vitals from today, your medications that I sent to your pharmacy, & I put the side effects, once again, for the medications here và a reminder to lớn put the estrogene under your tongue.

J: Awesome. Thank you.

MH: After seeing Jaye, Dr. Adkins goes into lớn this little workroom to lớn go over patient records và catch her breath.

Dr. A: I"m getting a little worried. I mean not that I wasn"t worried already but I was just told by the third patient that they"re moving out of state. Because they don"t feel safe.

MH: Dr. Adkins tells patients about support groups, & makes sure they visit with a social worker. But she worries that it’s not enough.

Dr. A: The thing that I fear is also something that I know will eventually happen. I hope not, but I feel from talking to other people who care for transgender kids that it"s likely, highly likely, that one of my patients will kill themselves one day và that"s that the day I don"t I don"t look forward khổng lồ.

MH: Oh God. That’s just heartbreaking.

Dr. A: But all of, all of the providers who"ve done this work for any length of time all have patients who have either taken their own life or someone"s killed them.

MH: After the break: Dr. Adkins says the work she does is an art, more than a science. And for parents, that means there aren"t a lot of easy answers.

Karen: Well, sometimes I feel hopeful, I"m thinking well maybe it"ll change, maybe he"ll wake up one day and say no this is not for me, this was a mistake. The likelihood of that happening is probably really low, so I try not to lớn get excited about it, hoping that something would happen.

**** MIDROLL ****

MH: Hey everytoàn thân, thanks for listening. We"ve sầu got a quichồng favor to lớn ask of you. We"re working on an episode about how learning a bit about your genes can totally shift your perspective, và we"re looking for your stories. So, have sầu you ever taken a DNA demo khổng lồ figure out your ancestry? And did the results surprise you? Maybe you were inspired to learn a bit about a remote place you never knew you were connected khổng lồ. Write lớn us. Sover us an gmail at onlyhuman