De-transitioned teen Chloe Cole visited the Treasure Valley this week, speaking to two large crowds.
Cole travels the US telling her story of what she experienced as a child being socially and medically transitioned from female to male.
On Wednesday evening she spoke to a crowd at Valley Church in Caldwell. In attendance were Senator Chris Trakel (R-District 11) who cohosted the event, Senator Tammy Nichols (R-District 10), Senator Carl Bjerke (R-District 5), and Caldwell School Board members Travis Manning and Andrew Butler. Caldwell School Board Chair Marisela Pesina was not in attendance, but had recently attended another event entitled “United Against Hate.”
Photo credit: Miste Karlfeldt
The Caldwell School Board and Senator Trakel have been together in the news recently over a proposed District policy regarding gender identity and sexual orientation. You can find that story here.
Cole spoke to The Idaho Dispatch after her address at Valley Church:
On Thursday Cole spoke to a crowd that included Idaho Legislators in the Lincoln Auditorium at the Idaho Capitol.
Photo credit: Daniel Murphy
Cole’s story begins with her explaining how she was feeling awkward and uncomfortable as a 12-year-old girl. She heard much negativity surrounding womanhood, femininity, and motherhood from women around her, and saw a lot of the same on social media. She speaks of the dangers of social media influencing the self-image of young people.
After deciding she did not want a life as a female, she cut her hair short, wore only boys’ clothing, and changed her name. She told her parents she wanted to be a boy. Her parents sought counseling, which led to a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. They were told the only treatment for gender dysphoria was the transition process.
By 13 she was seeing an endocrinologist who prescribed puberty blockers to stop the female puberty process. Cole says her parents were wary at first, but the doctors were telling them that children know their gender identity for certain from a very young age, and that the regret rate is “clinically insignificant,” 1-2% for transitioning. They were also told Cole would be at a very high risk of suicide if they did not allow this transition. Cole told both Idaho crowds she was not suicidal at that time, only considering suicide after the treatments began causing very uncomfortable side effects.
The first doctor refused to prescribe testosterone, but Cole says she and her parents were able to quickly find another endocrinologist who would. She explains that she experienced, and continues to experience, many unpleasant side effects that were never disclosed to her or her parents as possible outcomes of these treatments. Menopause symptoms were one such example. She said,
“I was 13, going through what women normally go through in their 50s and 60s.”
At the age of 15 Cole underwent a double mastectomy. She speaks of the pain, the skin grafts failing, and the regret she now has. It was after her surgery that she began to realize she missed being a girl. She missed her breasts. She realized the testosterone may prevent her from ever conceiving a child. Even if she can conceive, the mastectomy means she will never breastfeed. In an interview with Catholic News Agency in 2022 she said,
”At 15, I wasn’t really thinking. I was a kid, just trying to fit in — not thinking about the possibility of becoming a parent.”
“I’ll never have the experience, or even the option, of breastfeeding my children and bonding with them in that way.”
Cole describes her experience of ending the transition process. She says the doctors offered no guidance, no assistance in stopping the medications, no help to her. She stopped taking the prescriptions on her own, and describes that she is navigating the effects without guidance from the medical community.
After Cole’s speech in the Lincoln Auditorium, Representative Bruce Skaug (R-District 12) announced he has a bill to address this issue. House Bill 71, seen below, was introduced in the House Judiciary, Rules, and Administration Committee on January 31. The legislation would criminalize puberty blockers, hormone treatments for the purpose of gender transition, and surgery for the purpose of gender transition for minors in the state of Idaho. The crime would be a felony. A similar bill in the 2022 session carried a penalty of life in prison. The current draft has reduced that to 10 years in prison.1_5107231257616450307
Chloe Cole at the Idaho Capitol, pictured with Representative Bruce Skaug. Photo credit: David Pettinger
Cole discusses her story, her struggles, and her mission frequently on her Twitter account. This conversation below took place while she was in Idaho.
There is some opposition to this legislation in Idaho. An organization called NorthEnd.org tweeted this:
They shared a link to The Trevor Project. Their website says, “The Trevor Project’s mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ young people.” Facts About LGBTQ Youth Suicide | The Trevor Project
Rowan Astra recently shared that Satanic Idaho will be performing “Gender Affirming Rituals” at the Idaho Capitol.
Astra tweeted this after Cole’s speech at the Idaho Capitol:
Madeline Buckendorf of Caldwell had this to say on social media,
“One case out of the number of transgender teenagers who have experienced this is not much. Also it is a small number compared to the number of teenagers who have committed suicide over trying to be the gender they want — that is criminal. Listen to some Idaho transgender teenagers who went through the experience and see that it helped them survive their childhood, when their parents didn’t understand. Don’t judge this by one person speaking — hers is certainly not everyone’s experience.”
Tim Beck, son of Ada County Commissioner Rod Beck, added,
“It’s so ridiculous that Conservatives make such a huge deal out of a non-issue. Idaho now has almost 2 million residents and they can’t even find a single case of trans regret so they fly out a grifter who is clearly profiting on Conservatives’ irrational fears. It’s pathetic, now the Legislature has a bill to get the State’s hands down my kid’s pants and take away rights of both body autonomy and parental medical rights.”
Feature photo credit: David Pettinger of The Idaho Dispatch
Tags: Caldwell, Caldwell School Board, Chloe Cole, House Bill 71, House Judiciary and Rules, Idaho Capitol, Idaho House of Representatives, Senator Chris Trakel, Sex reassignment, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Transgender