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Chloe Cole Speaks at the U About Her Detransition Story

Chloe Cole, well-known ‘detransitioner’ activist, spoke at an event hosted by YAF discussing bans on gender-affirming care for minors.
Detransitioner+activist+Chloe+Cole+addresses+Salt+Lake+City+residents+and+University+of+Utah+students+in+the+Languages+and+Communication+building+at+the+University+of+Utah+on+Thursday%2C+Nov.+30%2C+2023.+%28Photo+by+Luke+Larsen+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29+
Luke Larsen
‘Detransitioner’ activist Chloe Cole addresses Salt Lake City residents and University of Utah students in the Languages and Communication building at the University of Utah on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. (Photo by Luke Larsen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

On Thursday, Chloe Cole, a well-known conservative activist, spoke about her “detransition” story at the University of Utah. An estimated 50 people attended the event, put on by Young Americans for Freedom.

Surrounding the building were approximately 60 security guards and police officers monitoring student protestors outside of the event.

“We must keep fighting to rid the country of this practice of manipulating, utilizing, mutilating and sterilizing children,” Cole said. “We must address how to otherwise care for these kids who are struggling with pain and trauma.”

Cole, a 19-year-old from California, began transitioning from female to male at 12 years old, and is currently in the process of transitioning back to female.

“My experience going through transitioning back has been an incredibly painful one,” she said. “But it’s also been a valuable learning experience for me.” 

Cole said her transition was brought on by her “tomboy” interests, and alleged that doctors “lied” to her and her parents about her being transgender.

“They were emotionally manipulated and thinking that this was life or death for their child,” she said. “The doctors told them that they had two choices for me — transition or suicide.”

Cole also supported the Utah State’s passing of S.B. 16, a bill that banned all access to gender-affirming care for Utah minors in 2022. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Cole spoke to lawmakers at a hearing regarding the bill in January.

“My childhood was destroyed for the sake of medical experimentation,” she told them.

According to the Tribune, about 1,400 Utahs between the age of 13 and 17 identify as transgender, equating to roughly 0.5% of Utah’s population in that age group. 

However, Cole said that laws are not enough to hold “irresponsible adults” accountable for situations similar to hers.

“We live in a world that is broken,” she said. “That pushes hurt souls further into a living grave, convinces young people that the way that they’re born is defective, that they must be fixed.”

Jordan Langford, an attendee of the event, asked why Cole’s story should be used against the 99% of people who want to transition. 

“We don’t know how many were ready [to transition],” Cole responded, adding she doesn’t think there are any solid studies on the matter.

According to the Associated Press, an average of 1% of people who had transgender surgeries expressed regret in the U.S., Canada and Europe across 27 studies.

Also in attendance was Monica Wilbur, a Utah mom who gained notoriety for protesting mask mandates in schools. She said children seem to be “incentivized” to identify as nonbinary, and questioned if this is taught in the classroom.

During Cole’s event, protestors stood outside with surrounding security. Protestors made signs and shouted, “YAF has got to go!” Protestors did not enter the building where the event was held.

Utah Students for a Democratic Society hosted the protest. Kailah Figueroa, a member of SDS, attended the protest.

“We want to support trans people here on campus, and the right to exist without being harassed with things happening like the Chloe Cole event,” she said. 

 

Editor’s note, Dec 1, 11:22 a.m. • This story was updated to clarify that Utah Students for a Democratic Society hosted the protest, not the student group Mecha de U of U.

 

[email protected] 

@LibbeyHNews

A protester holds a sign against the Chloe Cole event outside of the Languages and Communication building at the University of Utah on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. (Photo by Luke Larsen | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Luke Larsen)

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About the Contributors
Libbey Hanson, News Writer
(she/her) Libbey is a second-year graduate student in the MPA program studying public policy and administration. She is most interested in environmental policy and social justice issues. You can usually find her in the mountains hiking and skiing or reading and writing at a local coffee shop.
Luke Larsen, Photographer
(he/him) Luke started at the Chronicle in the fall of 2023. He is currently studying anthropology. He has worked as a professional portrait photographer since 2021 in Waco, Texas, where he has lived for the past ten years. He is originally from Los Angeles, California and loves Dim Sum.

Comments (14)

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  • T

    TallulahDec 4, 2023 at 4:15 pm

    “We want to support trans people here on campus, and the right to exist without being harassed with things happening like the Chloe Cole event.”

    Is this satire? It’s hard to believe someone with this level of self-awareness exists.

    Reply
  • E

    Everett LopezDec 2, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you for writing such a great article Libby! Thank you.

    Reply
  • M

    MDDec 1, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    I have yet to read the article but what got my attention was Chloe happily and confidently stating that some doctor manipulated her adult parents that Chloe was transgender! Sounds not only unbelievable but laughable. It’s understandable that if a child was manipulated and convinced by an adult, then that’s one thing. Anyone who takes this activist seriously needs to rethink. Now a days every other person is an activist of some kind or the other! Stop seeking attention and let people have the freedom to make their own decisions without trying to manipulate them!!! You are no better when you do the same that you accuse others of doing to you. Let that sink in.

    Reply
    • J

      John HedbergDec 3, 2023 at 9:42 am

      Laughable? Do you have any idea how many millions of parents were industry-manipulated into giving their kids totally unnecessary ADHD drugs over the last 2 decades? The actual incidence of ADHD in the population is small, but I don’t know a single family who doesn’t have one and sometimes two kids on ADHD meds. How did this happen, I wonder? 😋

      Pfizer’s VP admitted to the EU Parliament recently that the vaccines were never tested to prevent transmission, yet healthcare workers who had natural immunity from the first wave (Alpha) were fired for refusing a vaccine that did nothing to block transmission whatsoever, and CDC’s Rochelle Walensky later admitted this. In fact, the military is now trying to recruit back thousands of soldiers it fired with prejudice for refusing to follow an illegal order to take a vaccine that never prevented transmission in the first place. Incidents like this are just the tip of a famously long list of historic medical blunders from people (many scientists, ironically) who refused to wait for emerging data to give us a clearer picture.

      People don’t drive until they’re 16 or 17, they don’t vote until they’re 18, and they don’t drink until they’re 21 (usually). Emotionally complicated life decisions require progressively greater maturity to navigate, none more so than irreversible hormone therapy and surgery, so why not wait until people turn 18? This is a pro-transgender policy, because it takes into account the feelings of trans people if they turn out regretting their decision. This happens with hormone therapy and surgery, just as many people have long-term regrets after abortions. It’s better to know the possible consequences beforehand, to avoid injury to the trans people (whatever percentage) who will have regrets, because they matter, too.

      It’s prudent to listen to history and ask questions before committing to irreversible decisions with lifelong consequences. Does this make plausible sense, because if you say no, do you really care a whit about the actual human beings whose title you throw around so you can vent your own issues, rather than think about their feelings of lifelong regret if irreversible surgery or hormone blockers don’t turn out to be what they really needed, and they can never have kids? Have you ever explored the suicide rate of people when they find out they can’t have kids, transgender or not, because I assure you, they’re actual human beings like you.

      Reply
  • S

    Saba FDec 1, 2023 at 11:11 am

    the university continually shuts down student organizations that dare to speak up for minorities while holding up these disgusting events. this is the second YAF event in 4 weeks. it is all a matter of “free speech” until minority and leftist voices are present on campus.

    Reply
    • J

      John HedbergDec 1, 2023 at 12:39 pm

      I’m “BIPOC”, but I have different views than every other intersectional person who’s also BIPOC – different views than you, if you can imagine! 😋 So… when you assume you know my opinion just because of how I look or identify, the racist is you: something to keep in mind~

      A large and growing number of post-surgical transgender persons are realizing in retrospect that they were not feeling at home in their own body for reasons which had nothing to do with gender, and now that they’ve chosen irreversible removal of body organs that can never be replaced (for instance, they can never have children), there have been a growing number of suicides reported by the leading transgender institutes in Europe, which are a few years ahead of this country when it comes to treating true gender dysphoria. My question is why some of you are apparently so transphobic that you deny, suppress, and refuse to inclusively #Listen to the diverse lived experiences of suffering people whose feelings may differ from your own, by showing them empathy and compassion as if you value their humanity the same way you value others. Why do you devalue the humanity of these transgender people whose experience may be diverse from your own?

      Reply
  • L

    LucasDec 1, 2023 at 10:52 am

    MECHA did not host the protest, SDS did.

    Reply
    • A

      Andrew ChristiansenDec 1, 2023 at 11:29 am

      Thanks for your note, Lucas! I’ve clarified that and added an editor’s note.
      -Andrew, Online Mangaging Editor for the Daily Utah Chronicle

      Reply
      • J

        John HedbergDec 1, 2023 at 1:19 pm

        Andrew,
        Why is the Chronicle suppressing comments to Gordon’s “Treat Marginalized Students Equally” article? Isn’t that marginalizing student voices rather than treating us all equally?
        Thank you~

        Reply
        • A

          Andrew ChristiansenDec 3, 2023 at 7:59 pm

          Hi John, thanks for your comment. Your pending comment on that specific story violates the Chronicle’s comment policy. We are currently working with deans office to revamp our comment policy. I appreciate your patience and understanding, thank you.

          Reply
          • J

            John HedbergDec 3, 2023 at 10:33 pm

            And your censorship of my comment for the “Good Grief Circles Help Students Deal With Climate Anxiety” article? Did that violate your policy, too? How about your censorship of an entire year’s worth of comments for a compliment that violated no policy? Do you see why your rationalizations sound so disingenuous? You post what you want to post, and you censor what you want to censor, all paid for by the fees of the fellow students whose voices you marginalize. I’m afraid I can’t thank you for that, but God Bless You~ 🙂 Cheers

  • J

    John HedbergDec 1, 2023 at 7:28 am

    ” Kailah Figueroa, member of Students for a Democratic Society, attended the protest. “We want to support trans people here on campus, and the right to exist without being harassed with things happening like the Chloe Cole event,” she said. ”

    Notice that Kailah didn’t say “We want to support trans people here on campus, and the right to exist without being harassed by the things that happened TO Chloe Cole”, erasing Chloe’s humanity as if she doesn’t exist and denying (literal psychological “denial”) that her experience has human implications for other people facing similar choices, so it’s clear that the protesters don’t actually care about the continued existence of trans people who don’t agree with their own feelings as they attempt to physically suppress, isolate, and exclude them from any sort of hearing, consideration, or human empathy.

    Clearly, Mecha and Students for a Democratic Society will openly dehumanize any person, however they identify, who doesn’t agree with the feelings, preferences, or agenda of Mecha and SDS: very inclusive of them to hate-label anyone who wants to equally include a diverse experience (also known as “new data”, in scientific terms).

    Did you know that young women were once caught up in a fad of having their lower ribs surgically removed, so they could achieve a more “socially desirable hour-glass figure”? The procedure was considered gender-affirming care at the time, but it came with consequences that none of these young women wanted to consider before making permanent changes to their bodies. Has anyone heard of this procedure today? Hint: It was banned as emerging data showed the practice to be nothing more “health-affirming” than a barbaric and profit-driven use of medical resources purely to achieve a momentary emotional lift in the face of life-altering regret later on, a phenomenon also experienced by a high number of abortion recipients today whose humanity and lived experience are also deliberately silenced and suppressed by those who claim to care about and represent their voices and well-being… but not when it interferes with the preferences or political agenda of power-hungry narcissists.

    I wonder what would happen if people actually opened a book once in a while and practiced scientific inquiry and genuine empathy (not just slogans) that included everyone’s diversity and experience, not just those who agree with their own feelings?

    By the way, there is growing scientific conjecture in Sweden, Finland, and the UK about whether hormone blockers and transition surgery actually achieve a net positive long-term effect in treating gender dysphoria. New emerging data often overturns prior assumptions about what’s “medically necessary” or even effective. This is the reason it’s prudent to listen to history and ask questions before committing to irreversible decisions with lifelong consequences.

    Does this make plausible sense, because if you say no, you certainly don’t care a whit about the actual human beings whose title you throw around as a convenient slogan for your own advantage.

    Reply
    • A

      AdrianDec 1, 2023 at 11:04 am

      While it is entirely valid to be on a complex gender journey, speakers like Cole are often used as a tool for fear-mongering and harming trans people (which is terrible for both the person being used, and the impacts on society from that use). I agree Cole shouldn’t have been forced into transgender-affirming care if it was not her wish, but I have yet to actually encounter any trans person who didn’t have the opposite problem of having to fight and advocate for their care.

      As a trans person on campus who receives care at the U hospital system, I was never once pressured into any treatment. My care was totally driven by my decisions and my doctors check in with me every step of the way. These are the standards for trans health as laid out in the WPATH document. I am lucky to have access to such affirming care, to feel I don’t have to fight for what I need. I wish I had that as a kid, but I’m glad I have it now. Trans people are not some danger we must protect kids from, which the YAF have been actively purporting. We are human beings trying to not just survive, but thrive.

      What if we as a society let everyone figure things out in their own time, including seeing if trans-affirming care works for them? (Hormones are not a hasty change, as every trans person who wishes their changes happened faster can attest to). What if everyone had access to supportive therapy to have space to process and figure things out? What if trans people didn’t have to fight for their care in the first place? What if we actually listened to kids and gave them the agency they rightly deserve in the first place?

      Reply
      • J

        John HedbergDec 1, 2023 at 12:51 pm

        The argument I heard wasn’t that trans people are “some danger we must protect kids from”: that’s exactly the opposite of what I’ve heard being said by the other side. What I do hear is that there are other reasons people don’t feel at home in their bodies besides gender, but once the hormone therapy or surgery is done, it’s too late to go back if you want kids of your own, so why not let people wait until they are fully mature to make irreversible life decisions?

        People don’t drive until they’re 16 or 17, they don’t vote until they’re 18, and they don’t drink until they’re 21 (usually). Emotionally complicated life decisions require progressively greater maturity to navigate, none more so than irreversible hormone therapy and surgery, so why not wait until people turn 18? This is a pro-transgender policy, because it takes into account the feelings of trans people if they turn out regretting their decision. This happens with hormone therapy and surgery, just as many people have long-term regrets after abortions. It’s better to know the possible consequences beforehand, to avoid injury to the trans people (whatever percentage) who will have regrets, because they matter, too.

        Reply