A 19-year-old woman called on Congress to halt gender-reassignment therapies and surgeries for minors Thursday, saying that her “childhood was ruined” by the medical interventions.
“I used to believe that I was born in the wrong body,” Chloe Cole told members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government. “And the adults in my life, whom I trusted, affirmed my belief, and this caused me lifelong, irreversible harm.”
“I speak to you today as a victim of one of the biggest medical scandals in the history of the United States of America,” Cole went on. “I speak to you in the hope that you will have the courage to bring the scandal to an end and ensure that other vulnerable teenagers, children and young adults, don’t go through what I went through.”
The Biden administration has stood foursquare behind so-called “gender-affirming care,” with Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine — herself a transgender woman — saying in May that there was “is no argument among medical professionals … about the value and the importance” of the procedures.
“Adolescence is hard and puberty is hard,” Levine told ABC News earlier this month. “What if you’re going through the wrong puberty?”
“We need to stop telling 12-year-olds that they were born wrong, that they are right to reject their own bodies and feel uncomfortable with their own skin,” said Cole, who told lawmakers Thursday that she felt uncomfortable during puberty and told her parents at that age that she wanted to transition and become a boy. “We need to stop telling children that puberty is an option. That they can choose what kind of puberty they will go through just [like] they can choose what clothes to wear or music to listen to.
“Puberty is a rite of passage to adulthood, not a disease to be mitigated,” she added. “Today, I should be at home with my family, celebrating my 19th birthday, and instead I’m making a desperate plea to my representatives: Learn the lessons from other medical scandals like the opioid crisis to recognize that doctors are human too. And sometimes they are wrong.”
Cole’s parents sought advice from specialists who diagnosed their daughter with gender dysphoria and put her on puberty blockers and testosterone therapy starting at age 13.
The interventions were based on “coercion,” according to Cole, who said one specialist she consulted threatened her parents by asking, “Would you rather have a dead daughter or a living transgender son?”
At age 15, Cole under went a double mastectomy.
“My childhood was ruined, along with thousands of detransitioners that I know through our networks,” Cole said.
“It’s caused permanent changes to my body. My voice will forever be deeper, my jawline sharper, my nose longer,” she added. “My bone structure permanently masculinized. My Adam’s apple more prominent. My fertility unknown. I look in the mirror sometimes, and I feel like a monster.”
Cole has also experienced “menopausal hot flashes,” “joint pains” and must live with immense scars on her chest from the double mastectomy.
“I was cancer free, of course. I was perfectly healthy. There was nothing wrong with my still developing body or my breasts,” Cole said. “After my breasts were taken away from me, the tissue was incinerated before I was able to legally drive.”
“I had a huge part of my future womanhood taken from me. I will never be able to breastfeed,” she went on before pointing out that the surgery meant to prevent her from committing suicide nearly drove her to take her own life.
“When my specialist first told my parents that they could have a dead daughter or a live transgender son, I wasn’t suicidal. I was a happy child who struggled because she was different,” Cole said. “However, 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,” she concluded. “My doctors had almost created the very nightmare they said they were trying to avoid.”
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