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Children's hospital removes gender markers from patient wristbands

Children's Hospital of Colorado is making a big change by removing one letter from patient's wristbands. The hospital is no longer marking genders.
Credit: KUSA

Children's Hospital Colorado announced on Thursday it's removing gender markers from patient's wristbands.

The idea started with a gender diversity task force and is now being used across the Aurora hospital.

"We are seeing more and more patients who have diverse gender identities," said Dr. Natalie Nokoff with Children's Hospital Colorado. "I think that's true of programs all across the United States."

Nokoff's has a clinical background in caring for children who identify as transgender or gender fluid.

For Ben, a teenager, this change is monumental. He's been going to Children’s Hospital Colorado for around two years and identifies as a female to male transgender person.

"It's huge. Bigger than anything on this planet. Looking down and seeing that 'f', I’m just like 'no. That’s not right,'” he told 9NEWS on Thursday.

He said it’s one more thing he doesn’t have to worry about.

Ben talked to 9NEWS along with his mom, Paula Grison, who is also a lawyer representing the LGBTQ community. Grison said going to Children’s Hospital Colorado is more than getting the right medicine.

"It's also having care providers who treat you with the respect and dignity you are craving," Grison said. "And that's what this does."

While gender won’t be marked on wristbands anymore, Dr. Nokoff said medical history will still be properly recorded.

"In aspects of their identity or body parts that they have for safety reasons are documented elsewhere. That's still captured in the medical record," Nokoff said. " We didn't feel like there was any reason why that had to be publicly displayed on a wristband or sticker.”

"Me being me, I'm so happy with who I am right now, " Ben said. "I'm so confident in myself."

9NEWS met Ben at the TRUE Center for Gender Diversity - which stands for Trust, Understand, Respect, Emerge. The group has around 800 patients, most from Colorado but some from out of state, and even out of the country.

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