02:50 AM

Wichita's transgender community strives to become more visible

Olympic champion Bruce Jenner sat down in April and told Diane Sawyer that he was, "for all intents and purposes," a woman. Soon, he said, he'd look like one, too.

Key to understanding the transgender struggle is understanding transgenderism, said Caroline Gibbs, a clinical counselor who 12 years ago founded the Transgender Institute in Kansas City, Mo., which helps the transgender population with therapy, career and insurance counseling, support groups and more. It even puts on classes to help transgender people learn how to convincingly sound gender-appropriate when they speak. Gibbs, who estimates she and her colleagues have served 1,200 people since opening, said her long-term goal is to open a shelter for transgender people in Kansas City.

Since the Jenner story broke, Gibbs said, she's seen an increase in the number of people coming for services. And they're not just transgender adults. They're also teenagers and children and their parents, too. Experts, like Jill Jacobson, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, are particularly interested in transgender feelings in children, who sometimes show signs as young as 2 or 3 years old.

Read more via Wichita Eagle