Chris and Jessica Cicchinelli thought their child LC was just going through a phase when she announced that she was a girl and not a boy.
But it came to a head during a Florida vacation trip two years ago when LC was 8, and refused to go to dinner unless she could wear a dress. When Chir saw how happy LC was when she came out of the dressing room, he knew it was time to deal with the fact he and his wife had a trans child.
Cicchinelli is the CEO and president of Pure Romance, a Cincinnati based romance aid company founded by his mother that does $250 million a year in business
When they returned home to Cincinnati, they wanted to take LC to the Adolescent and Transition Medicine Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for an immediate appointment, but discovered it would be seven weeks before they could get an appointment. They were also looking for information concerning how to navigate parenting for a trans child
This is also the region of the country where Leelah Alcorn was from, and since her suicide death in 2015, the number of people seeking help from the clinic has tripled to nearly 1000 a day. Many of the folks seeking help for their kids are coming from as far away as northern Ohio and other parts of the region
The Adolescent and Transition Medicine Clinic opened in July 2013 and is run by Dr. Lee Ann Conard. It is one of 24 in the United States dedicated to transgender youth and their care.
Knowing there were other families out there that needed help, support or information, the Cicchinellis launched the Living With Change: The LC Foundation that will train teachers and educators and provide financial support for the Adolescent and Transition Medicine Clinic.
The LC Foundation was seeded with $500,000 of their own money the Cicchinellis expect to get matching donations for by June. They have pledged another $2 million to the clinic.
“We had to do something,” Jessica Cicchinelli said. “We want this for other families. We want them to know it’s there and not be scared and to know there is help.”
One of the places that has already signed on for the foundation’s training is the Cincinnati Public Schools.
They hired Cincinnati councilman Chris Seelbach to run the foundation, Seelbach was Cincinnati’s first openly gay councilmember, has been a vocal advocate for the TBLGQ community, and has spearheaded many of the civic reforms that have catapulted it to the top of the HRC Municipal Equality Index.
The LC Foundation is not only starting at a fortuitous time for the clinic, it is needed and very much necessary.,