Detransitioner Chloe Cole Gives a Heartbreaking Testimony Before Congress

Emma Campbell | July 28, 2023
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Detransitioner Chloe Cole delivered emotional testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government Thursday about the negative effects of transitioning genders as a child. 

The Dangers and Due Process Violations of “Gender-Affirming Care” for Children subcommittee hearing featured testimony from six people with different experiences related to gender-affirming care for minors, including Cole. Cole began transitioning as a 13-year-old and received medical treatment to help her go through puberty as a male - Including a mastectomy at 15 years old. Only a year later, she began the process of detransitioning at the age of 16 when she realized she didn’t actually want to be a boy.

She delivered an emotional account of her experience before the House subcommittee, emphasizing that she was misled to believe transitioning would help her with the emotional problems she was facing. 

“I speak to you today as a victim of one of the biggest medical scandals in the history of the United States of America. I speak to you in the hope that you will have the courage to bring this scandal to an end and ensure that other vulnerable teenagers, children and young adults don’t go through what I went through,” Cole said in her opening statement

Cole explained that she began to experience gender dysphoria at the age of 12 because she felt awkward and uncomfortable in the middle of puberty. Her parents sought help from professionals, which she said set their entire family ‘“down a path of ideologically-motivated deceit and coercion.” 

“They asked my parents a simple question: would you rather have a dead daughter or a living transgender son? The choice was enough for my parents to let their guard down, and in retrospect I can’t blame them. This was the moment that we all became victims of so-called ‘gender-affirming care,’” Cole said. 

Cole detailed how she struggled with adverse physical effects as a result of puberty blockers and testosterone injections, and that some side effects made it “impossible” to focus on things like school work at times. She acknowledged that many parts of her body will be “permanently masculinized” as a result of her treatment, and that they still don’t know whether or not she will ever be able to have children. 

“I look in the mirror sometimes and I feel like a monster,” Cole said. “I had a huge part of my future womanhood taken from me. 

Cole emphasized in her testimony that the “gender-affirming care” she received failed to address the mental health issues driving her inner turmoil, and that doctors and specialists assumed that these treatments would fix all of her problems. She revealed that she began to experience depression or suicidal ideation while she was receiving transitioning treatment—mental health issues she hadn’t struggled with before then. 

“At 16, after my surgery, I did become suicidal. I’m doing better now, but my parents almost got the dead daughter promised to them by my doctors. My doctors had almost created the very nightmare they said they were trying to avoid,” Cole said.

Cole asserted that transitioning as a child is not the answer to the kind of confusion and fear she dealt with, but that there need to be better treatment options and therapy for minors struggling to understand who they are. She argued that lawmakers and healthcare workers need a shift in mindset to realize that “puberty is a right of passage to adulthood, not a disease to be mitigated.” 

Later on in the hearing, Cole addressed the situation of another woman testifying before the subcommittee—a woman who had allowed her daughter to transition to a boy as a child, and claimed that it was a decision that saved her child’s life. Cole said that she understood where the woman was coming from and didn’t want to condemn her for the decisions she made out of love and concern for her child, but pointed out that medically castrating and mutilating a child is not the way.

“I see my own mother and my own father in her, and that she—clearly she dearly loves her child and she is doing the best with what she’s been given, and unfortunately it’s not much. And for that I’m sorry,” Cole said, getting choked up. 

“I think every parent deserves the utmost grace and guidance with how to help their child. That being said, I don’t wish for her child to have the same result as I did,” Cole continued. “I don’t wish for anybody to regret transition or to detransition because it’s incredibly difficult…I hope that her child gets to have a happy and fulfilling adulthood, however that may look like.” 

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) followed up Cole’s emotional testimony by asking her if she believed the American healthcare system had failed her. Cole’s answer was short and powerful. 

“On every single level.”