Anti medical transition activist says she is autistic

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ASPartOfMe
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12 Sep 2022, 2:39 pm

Ex-Trans Activist Chloe Cole In Her Own Words: ‘I’m Autistic’

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A version of this report first appeared in The Los Angeles Blade. Following publication, activist Chloe Cole tweeted that she is autistic, as both an explanation for why she sometimes struggles with her responses to lawmakers and journalists, and to complain she was mocked in the Blade article for her disability. Her autism was not something Cole disclosed this in multiple tweets, direct messages and email exchanges with this reporter. Autism is not something anyone should mock, and although disclosure is never a prerequisite, Cole only opted to blame her struggles on autism following publication of her story in the Blade. This version includes that information.

Lawmakers in Sacramento as well as Florida, Ohio and Louisiana have heard the heartbreaking testimony of a Central Valley, California teenager who says she regrets beginning a gender transition at age 12. And that regret has been seized upon by anti-trans forces all around the world, eager to retell and retweet her harrowing story.

Her name is Chloe Cole. After weeks of exchanging tweets with this reporter, she agreed to an interview, via email.

Cole says she sought and was prescribed puberty blockers at age 13. That was in February 2018. She kept getting those Lupron injections for about a year, she says. Then, a month later, she says she started testosterone injections, for about two years, followed by top surgery at age 15.

About a year post-op, Cole says she realized for the first-time that she may want to breast-feed someday, which was obviously impossible following her double mastectomy.

At 17, Cole says she stopped using the first name “Leo,” detransitioned, and resumed life as a girl.

Starting in May, Cole has been traveling the country to testify against medical transition. She’s been on Fox News, too, denouncing gender-affirming care, because for her, she says it was a mistake.

Now 18, Cole has become the poster child for far-right politicians and religious conservatives working to ban these lifesaving medical treatments and to prosecute the doctors and parents who support their children’s transitions, for child abuse. She calls herself a “former trans kid.”

“The gender dysphoria gets better every day through accepting the biological reality that while being a man may have its advantages, appropriating the stereotypes of men will never allow me to become one,” said Cole in an email Saturday. The Los Angeles Blade asked her if that means she does not consider trans men to be men. “Trans men are not biological males, so definitionally, they are not men"

Despite Cole’s choice of words, matching that of many anti-trans activists, federal judges, the ACLU and now the Associated Press have made it clear that the transphobic terms, “biological male,” “biological female” and “biological sex” are nonsense words, coined during the North Carolina bathroom bill days specifically to oppress trans people.

Georgia Congresswoman and anti-trans activist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene retweeted one of Cole’s most popular social media posts Thursday, showing a trans boy before and after transition and top surgery. The boy’s name, age and plastic surgeon were not disclosed; Cole told the Blade the photo belonged to a surgeon who she said used it to advertise. Greene tweeted: “This child is not old enough to vote, buy cigarettes, or watch an R rated movie, but they let her choose to have them cut her breast off.”

While I don't agree with everything any politician says or does,” Cole told the Blade in an email, “I find her bill that protects children from the harm that I endured is a cause I can get behind.” Cole added that she would delete the post showing the post-op trans boy if their family requests it.

“I didn’t even know detransitioners existed until I was one,” Cole told state senators. “The worst part about my transition would be the long-term health effects that I didn’t knowingly consent to at the time. I developed urinary tract issues during my transition that seem to have gotten worse since my detransition. I have been getting blood clots in my urine and have an inability to fully empty my bladder. Because my reproductive system was still developing while I was on testosterone, the overall function of it is completely unknown. I have irreversible changes, and I may face complications for the rest of my life. I was failed by modern medicine.”

Cole has stuck to that script since May, with minor adjustments. the Blade asked her if she has someone else writing or helping her write her testimony.

“My own comments on my lived experience are more valuable than anything a PR rep could ever come up with,” said Cole. “The insinuation that a young woman can't write a coherent testimony is extremely misogynistic.”

When informed her response was not a denial, Cole replied in a follow-up email: “My public comments are all my words, the insinuation apparent in that line of questioning (that I need someone to write for me or that I'm some sort of puppet) is ridiculously misogynistic.”

When she sat down with Florida’s anti-trans Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo in July, her story changed dramatically. She speculated that her four years on testosterone might endanger her ability to become a mother and might also put her at risk for cancer.

If you’re reading this and wondering, where are Cole’s parents in all this? She says they’re staying out of the media spotlight on purpose. The Blade sought an interview with Cole’s parents, but she declined to make them available, citing fear of reprisal from advocates for transgender youth and their allies.

“My parents don't want the spotlight due to the hostility and danger induced by many trans rights activists on the internet,” she told the Blade. “For an example: I received a threat from an unidentified nonbinary individual [Friday] via Twitter threatening to scrape out my eyes with bowl.

When the Blade asked her, “Why would your parents want to avoid the spotlight yet leave you unprotected?” and subsequently asked about her relationship with her mother and father, Cole declined to respond.

“My parents received intense social pressure and pressure from medical professionals,” she wrote. “They were told the classic among child transition stories, ‘Would you like a dead daughter or a live son?’ I don't blame them for this, they were misinformed, like many parents put in this situation. None of us were aware of the word ‘detransition’ until it happened to me.”

Since her emergence on the public scene in April, trans adults have been digging into Cole’s claims. Some note the fact that surgery takes years of planning and preparation and is not done on a whim or under pressure. There is rampant speculation that her travel has been paid for by anti-LGBTQ activists; Cole denied that on Twitter, noting, “The only people who have bought and sold me—and my body—are the ‘gender specialists’ and surgeons that sold my family and I a lie.” The Blade asked her to elaborate on this question as part of our email exchange. “My trips are self-funded with help from crowdfunding via Twitter tips,” she said.

Some wonder about the total silence from and invisibility of her parents, while others question whether she is being coached, based on how she appears eloquent when reading her prepared testimony, but speaks haltingly and struggles to answer direct questions.

Following publication of this story in the Blade, Cole tweeted that the reason for her speech issues is autism, and accused this reporter of making fun of her.

There was also one media reference to her autism I found, post-publication, in the far right outlet The Epoch Times.

Others in the transgender community who have looked into Cole’s claims also had not seen that disclosure.

Still others have doubted her account because of medical inconsistencies in her treatment and subsequent health conditions. Endocrinologists generally do not prescribe puberty blockers and testosterone simultaneously; typically, someone would get puberty blockers prior to experiencing puberty, and testosterone would be prescribed thereafter. Cole tweeted that her doctor did not follow the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care.

There’s no denying Cole is suffering as a result of what she describes as her realization, two years ago, that she’d never breastfeed. But the facts, whatever they are in Cole’s case, aren’t as important as the reality, which is that hers is still just one case, heartbreaking as it may be; Cole is an outlier compared to the vast majority of positive outcomes, as cited by journalist Zack Ford.

Last year, Ford reported fewer than 5% of people who undergo a gender transition experience regret it later, and as NBC News has reported, detransitions occurred in 0.4% of respondents who said they realized, like Cole, that transition was not right for them.

This story is a clusterf**k. There are so many hot button issues that I am going to ask the mods to monitor this thread from the get go.

This story is going to increase the Autism mental illness stigma.

Of course I have no idea if she is faking autism, or using autism as a get out of public opinion trouble card. There are certainly many people who would like to prove she is faking autism, including apparently the reporter.

As oft debated here when to disclose Autism is a fraught issue in regular circumstances, never mind when you put yourself at the center of the most divisive culture war issue of the moment.

Her cowards for parents are making things worse.


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The_Walrus
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12 Sep 2022, 3:54 pm

More than happy to believe she’s autistic.

I have disdain for people who think that them receiving bad care means that nobody should receive any care.

If a doctor isn’t following guidelines, campaign to have the doctor struck off. Don’t campaign to make it illegal for people with the condition you presented with to get treatment. Imagine if all victims of medical malpractice started campaigning against the practice of medicine…

I can forgive Chloe: she is young. In years to come, she’ll look back on her actions with regret. That’s part of growing up - it’s unfortunate she is doing it in the public spotlight.



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12 Sep 2022, 5:00 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Her cowards for parents are making things worse.

I see no reason to make any judgments about her parents at this point. Whatever else can be said about Cole’s claims, I think she's right to protect her parents' privacy, to protect them from harassment and/or losing their jobs. The latter would just mess up her life even more.

Anyhow, back to the story itself:

I'm surprised to read that she says she received "top surgery at age 15." Is that allowed under current guidelines???


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12 Sep 2022, 5:12 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
I have disdain for people who think that them receiving bad care means that nobody should receive any care.

If a doctor isn’t following guidelines, campaign to have the doctor struck off. Don’t campaign to make it illegal for people with the condition you presented with to get treatment. Imagine if all victims of medical malpractice started campaigning against the practice of medicine…

Agreed.


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12 Sep 2022, 6:41 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Her cowards for parents are making things worse.

I see no reason to make any judgments about her parents at this point. Whatever else can be said about Cole’s claims, I think she's right to protect her parents' privacy, to protect them from harassment and/or losing their jobs. The latter would just mess up her life even more.


Since her name is public, people can find out who they are, where they live, and who they work for. I think it is unconscionable they are letting Chloe deal with this herself.


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12 Sep 2022, 7:33 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Her cowards for parents are making things worse.

I see no reason to make any judgments about her parents at this point. Whatever else can be said about Cole’s claims, I think she's right to protect her parents' privacy, to protect them from harassment and/or losing their jobs. The latter would just mess up her life even more.


Since her name is public, people can find out who they are, where they live, and who they work for. I think it is unconscionable they are letting Chloe deal with this herself.

I suspect that the name she's publicly known by is probably a pseudonym.

If it's her legal name, then I'm surprised her parents haven't been outed already.

EDIT: I notice that the story doesn't name the "gender specialists and surgeons" who treated her, either.


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12 Sep 2022, 9:07 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
I'm surprised to read that she says she received "top surgery at age 15." Is that allowed under current guidelines???


That's the age I generally hear being put forward as acceptable, though I believe it has been performed on younger girls, with 17 being the age I hear for bottom surgery. There was just recently a big stink because an account on Twitter surfaced a Boston hospital's own PR regarding youth gender affirming care, including surgery at the mentioned ages, which the hospital quickly scrubbed while accusing the account of harassing them by quoting their own material.


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12 Sep 2022, 10:03 pm

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My parents don't want the spotlight due to the hostility and danger induced by many trans rights activists on the internet,” she told the Blade. “For an example: I received a threat from an unidentified nonbinary individual [Friday] via Twitter threatening to scrape out my eyes with bowl."

Let your teenage daughter take all the heat and risk. No, just no


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When the Blade asked her, “Why would your parents want to avoid the spotlight yet leave you unprotected?” and subsequently asked about her relationship with her mother and father, Cole declined to respond.

I might be wrong about this but to me, this is a hint that she possibly agrees with me.

Quote:
“My parents received intense social pressure and pressure from medical professionals,” she wrote. “They were told the classic among child transition stories, ‘Would you like a dead daughter or a live son?’ I don't blame them for this, they were misinformed, like many parents put in this situation. None of us were aware of the word ‘detransition’ until it happened to me.”

Not blaming them for this does not necessarily mean she agrees with her parents decision to stay out of it.


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12 Sep 2022, 10:54 pm

A bit of a ramble, but ...

I'm trying to think what my child would want in this situation, and as weird it seems, I don't think she would want us parents involved. This teen is at the age she would likely want to take strong ownership of who she is, and her own story. Teens at that stage can get quite angry when parents try to help (or as teens see it, interfere).

I think my mind wanders back to this thought: if the world was different, and it wasn't so complicated to be trans in the wrong body as a pre-teen or teen, would there be a need to worry about surgery and blockers at a young age? The driver to take these steps young seems to be the mental health of the youth, but isn't the mental health of youth strongly affected by community response? If we all would just accept a young trans male as being male, despite having a female body, wouldn't the youth face fewer conflicts and be more comfortable with waiting to physically transition? Society has kind of created the trap, has it not?

The only possible relevance, to me, for her autism is wondering how well she was truly able to communicate her inner life to those responsible for forming the early decisions. To help with an appropriate decision, a parent needs to REALLY know their child, on a super deep level.

I'm pretty sure that the trans youth my kids went to school with did not receive surgery. They DID receive love and acceptance from the local community. And teachers + peers who consistently called them by their chosen names and pronouns.

I sometimes wonder about the story with Shilo Jolie-Pitt. It was speculated for a long time that she was trans, since her parents let her dress as a boy and, it was said, use a different name. No big deal was made of it; she was allowed to "be" without question, as far as I can tell. And now she dresses and acts differently, as a female. Who knows what will be in a decade, but it seems like she's been in control of her identity the whole time. Or, at least I hope that is true. Which takes me back to wondering just how often social issues mix into creating mental health issues and driving a need that better social acceptance might not create. I feel good seeing a youth in the public eye seemingly be able to "be" one thing this year, another the next. How many kids have that level of acceptance, though?

So, yeah, I worry that the conservative political side actually created the environment in which families got desperate enough to feel it necessary to allow their kids to transition at early ages. Classic unintended consequences.

Another argument for taking kids pronoun and name requests at face value and honoring them. My gut tells me little things like that make a much bigger difference than people realize. You can't have it both ways, insist to a child they can't be who they say they are because of biology, and then complain that some families feel driven to fix the biology at a young age to help with their child's mental health. The child is going to latch onto the result that reduces their immediate pain.

So, yeah, the more I write, the more I see a vicious circle and want others to see it, too.


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Last edited by DW_a_mom on 12 Sep 2022, 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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12 Sep 2022, 11:06 pm

There's been a lot of talk lately about the sort of jump to push a trans identity on gender nonconforming youth, who in previous generations would likely have either aged out of it or come out as gay, where as now many of them are steered on the path to medicalization, which is concerning.


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12 Sep 2022, 11:10 pm

Dox47 wrote:
There's been a lot of talk lately about the sort of jump to push a trans identity on gender nonconforming youth, who in previous generations would likely have either aged out of it or come out as gay, where as now many of them are steered on the path to medicalization, which is concerning.


Because we know they are suffering in the state in which they exist. We KNOW that.

Why can't people just accept them as they want to be and use the pronouns and names and bathrooms they request so they explore their identity in peace? Wouldn't that reduce their suffering?

It's time to find a way to isolate the variables.


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13 Sep 2022, 7:07 am

DW_a_mom wrote:

I think my mind wanders back to this thought: if the world was different, and it wasn't so complicated to be trans in the wrong body as a pre-teen or teen, would there be a need to worry about surgery and blockers at a young age? The driver to take these steps young seems to be the mental health of the youth, but isn't the mental health of youth strongly affected by community response? If we all would just accept a young trans male as being male, despite having a female body, wouldn't the youth face fewer conflicts and be more comfortable with waiting to physically transition? Society has kind of created the trap, has it not?

This sounds good but I see two issues.

The first is that it is utopian. People are going to make snap judgements about other people’s gender. Sure, we might say that we shouldn’t do that - but we do. When I see someone, I nearly always recognise them as a man or a woman or boy or girl just as easily as I would recognise a table or a chair. If you’re persistently being recognised as a woman, everyone who you meet assumes you’re a woman, people in stores call you “ma’am”, but you’re a man, you’re going to want to take steps to tip that initial perception towards being perceived as a man. That’s something you can actually realistically do. Getting everyone to stop thinking along gender lines is a noble goal, sure, but it isn’t going to happen in the short term.

The second is that the social aspect is only part of the issue. Gender dysphoria involves feeling profoundly dissatisfied with your body. Some trans people don’t experience this, but some do. Some cis women naturally grow facial hair due to things like PCOS. Some cis men experience growth in breast tissue. Most people, given the choice, would rather have a body that conforms to their chosen gender. In that sense, trans people are no different from cis people.

Dox47 wrote:
There's been a lot of talk lately about the sort of jump to push a trans identity on gender nonconforming youth, who in previous generations would likely have either aged out of it or come out as gay, where as now many of them are steered on the path to medicalization, which is concerning.

Yeah that’s rubbish, it’s very hard for trans youth to access gender-affirming care, even basic stuff like puberty blockers. Waiting lists are typically very long, and that’s even if they have parents and primary care physicians who support them.

It’s also worth noting that the vast majority of those who do receive care do not “age out” of it. Something like 95%. For comparison, MMR is 88% effective against mumps.



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13 Sep 2022, 10:38 am

DW_a_mom wrote:
I'm trying to think what my child would want in this situation, and as weird it seems, I don't think she would want us parents involved. This teen is at the age she would likely want to take strong ownership of who she is, and her own story. Teens at that stage can get quite angry when parents try to help (or as teens see it, interfere).

I agree that most teens do not want parents interfering(I think that sentiment was a lot stronger when I was a teen in the ‘70s then now). I agree that parents should try and avoid interfering with teens life as much as possible. Much as possible is the key here. Leaving aside interfering in her transition/detransition decisions your teenage daughter being under withering personal attacks and threats is not a situation where it should be impossible to not to help/interfere I don’t know what such a situation would be. Sometimes a parent has to be a parent.

I am going to be 65 this month and I doubt I could handle being a notable person in the culture war issue of the moment. Add that not only is she still a teen but the mental ringer she has been through first with the decision to transition then realizing it was wrong for her.


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Last edited by ASPartOfMe on 13 Sep 2022, 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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13 Sep 2022, 10:44 am

The_Walrus wrote:
Waiting lists are typically very long

I would expect this to vary a lot by locale.

Here in the U.S.A., I would expect waiting lists to be extremely long in the Bible Belt, if there even exists a relevant clinic at all within reasonable traveling distance of a person's home.

On the other hand, here in NYC, Mount Sinai Hospital's Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery says that they have "no wait list" and that patients can be seen "within several weeks of our first communication," and "We can often schedule surgeries within months of the initial consultations."

Waiting lists apparently are extremely long in the U.K., according to this Reuters story, published in December 2021.


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13 Sep 2022, 11:10 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
your teenage daughter being under withering personal attacks and threats is not a situation where it should be impossible to not to help/interfere I don’t know what such a situation would be. Sometimes a parent has to be a parent.

We don't know what kind of help or support she might be getting from her parents behind the scenes. We also know nothing about her parents' overall situation.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
I am going to be 65 and I doubt I could handle being a notable person in the culture war issue of the moment. Add that not only is she still a teen but the mental ringer she has been through first with the decision to transition then realizing it was wrong for her.

At least some teenagers might be better able to handle this (emotionally, at least) than many adults. Teenagers are notoriously fearless.

We just don't have enough information to judge this aspect of the situation one way or the other.

Anyhow, I notice that the Forbes article has been taken down, for whatever reason.


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13 Sep 2022, 11:28 am

Article 404'd for me, maybe it's been deleted. I have a lot of sympathy for these women.


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Last edited by magz on 14 Sep 2022, 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.: Provocative remark removed