In My Own Words: Responding to the Forbes Hit-Piece
Dawn Ennis shouldn’t be regarded as a credible journalist, much less an informed voice on medical transition in youth.
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Dawn Ennis, a trans-identified male, concocted quite the hit piece on me for the Los Angeles Blade on Sunday, titled “California ex-trans teen is national right-wing media’s darling.” The article then showed up in Forbes with a new title that many felt to be mocking of my autism—“Ex-Trans Activist Chloe Cole In Her Own Words: ‘I’m Autistic.’” It generated a lot of backlash on Twitter not only for its title, but also for its many statements that ranged from misleading, false, to the outright absurd. On Monday evening the Forbes article suddenly vanished, though a web archive remains for your viewing pleasure (popcorn/preferred snack of choice required).
I started speaking on Twitter about my detransition and my ill-fated medical transition experience in April, 2022, when I was 17. I have since testified in the California State Senate Judiciary Committee against Senator Weiner’s harmful, anti-American, and anti-family bill, SB 107. This bill makes California a “sanctuary state” for minors seeking irreversible gender surgeries, which would allow what happened to me to happen to any confused or misguided child in the United States. Many statements by those purporting to be “medical experts” testifying in support of the bill have been shown to be without scientific basis.
For those not familiar with my story, I began identifying as a boy at 12 years old (without medical intervention). Immediately after expressing this cross-sex identity, I was fast-tracked into medical transition. At 13 I was prescribed puberty blockers and testosterone, and an 15 went under the knife for a double mastectomy. When I was 16, about 11 months post-op, I came to the realization that I had been lead down a horrific path of medical mistreatment, and I now speak openly about my darkest days to help educate families, lawmakers, and everyday citizens about the dangers of transitioning children.
Ennis wants people to believe that my experience is merely an “outlier compared to the vast majority of positive outcomes.” But she uses low quality and irrelevant studies on transition regret in adults to justify her claim, which bear no resemblance to the new “rapid onset” cohort of children now being medically transitioned. In just over a decade, the number of children referred to gender clinics has shot up between 2000 and 4000 percent. Even the New York Times, summarizing a report based on new CDC survey data, refer to this “sharp rise in transgender young people in the U.S.” There are currently no good data on transition regret for this new cohort, and until there is it is impossible for anyone—much less a child—to meaningfully consent to permanent, life-altering, damaging, and unethical medical treatments.
Ennis also repeats the widespread and well-rehearsed falsehood that puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries are “lifesaving medical treatments.” This emotionally manipulative “affirm-or-suicide” narrative, which asserts that trans-identified minors are destined to commit suicide if they are denied “affirming” medical treatments, is something that many parents—including my own—fall victim to. But this is a myth rooted in the false comparison of kids with gender dysphoria to normal, mentally healthy children. When the suicide rates of trans-identifying children are compared to children with similar mental health profiles who do not identify as trans, the disparity in suicidal ideation shrinks dramatically, demonstrating that failing to “affirm” a child’s trans identity does not appear to cause suicidal behavior.
But while Ennis’ above statements are highly misleading and false, she then veers into the absurd by claiming that the terms “‘biological male,’ ‘biological female’ and ‘biological sex’ are nonsense words” that were invented “specifically to oppress trans people.” It’s hard to imagine someone believing something so untethered from reality. None of us would be here today if it weren’t for the reality of males and females, whose existence is rooted in biology rather than identity. In fact, the very concept of a being “transgender,” like Ennis, requires sex being an objective and immutable property that does not match how one subjectively “identifies.”
Ennis then accuses me of changing my story, which is an increasingly common tactic used by my detractors. Ennis said, “When she sat down with Florida’s anti-trans Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo in July, her story changed dramatically.” But my testimony is just a recount of my life, and I often talk about different aspects of it in order to give the media fresh quotes instead of robotically repeating the same two minute testimony over and over again. I know I’m autistic, but jeez!
As though purposefully trying to destroy whatever credibility as a journalist she has left, Ennis makes a blundering attempt to debunk the claim made by journalist Chaya Raichik (on her popular social media account Libs of TikTok) that minors were receiving “gender-affirming” genital surgeries. Ennis claimed that “Raichik’s viral claim was false” and represented “a campaign based on lies,” but then fully refuted her own fact-check in the very next sentence by stating, “While there have been exceptions for some 15, 16 and 17-year-olds, most surgeons won’t operate on anyone younger than 18.”
In a continuation of her seeming desire to commit journalistic seppuku, Ennis dedicated an entire section of her article to platforming false claims about me that have been spreading in a manner that’s the online equivalent of an elementary school playground rumor mill. The claims are that I am being “coached” and that I’m not in control of my own social media accounts. This is untrue, and all Ennis achieves here is highlighting the obsessive nature of my haters, who are dead set on making things up to discredit me.
Ennis also tried to sow doubt regarding the timeline of my transition. She said that “Some note the fact that surgery takes years of planning and preparation and is not done on a whim or under pressure.” But The World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care (WPATH), which is the world’s leading transgender healthcare association, disagrees with Ennis. Their guidelines recommend only “one year of testosterone treatment” and a mental health professional’s letter of support in order for a 15-year-old—like I was when I got my surgery—to obtain a double mastectomy.
Ennis’ only qualification is—laughingly—a degree in journalism, yet she continues to try and discredit my medical history. She claims that “others have doubted” my account “because of medical inconsistencies in her treatment and subsequent health conditions.” She further claims that “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.”
But this was not true in my case, and endocrinologist Dr. Mike Laidlaw agrees with my testimony, saying that medical professionals often do not follow WPATH’s Standards of Care. According to Dr. Laidlaw:
My experience in reviewing transitions and detransitions is that the clinicians and other healthcare providers involved in medical care often do not follow even WPATH’s ill-conceived guidelines. Some of these doctors follow their own recipes and provide puberty blockers at the same time as testosterone. These gender quacks don’t understand basic endocrine physiology and prescribe whatever toxic concoctions they dream up. Unfortunately young people like Chloe pay a heavy price for this experimentation on our youth.
Ennis’ journalistic grand finale is to take on the role of a mind reader and accuses me and other detransitioners of causing “deliberate harm to trans and nonbinary youth,” though she fails to state who I’ve harmed, or how.
Few people are aware that Ennis made headlines in 2013 after flip-flopping between genders even more than I have (a total of 3 times) while working as a night-time editor at ABC News. Ennis was eventually fired at ABC for “performance related issues.” Let’s pretend we are surprised.
According to the New York Post, Ennis posted a memo on the newsroom bulletin board which read: “I accused my wife of playing some kind of cruel joke, dressing me up in a wig and bra and making fake ID’s with the name ‘Dawn’ on it. Seriously.” Ennis had said that her gender flip-flopping was due to “transient global amnesia,” and said that at the time, in 2013, she believed it was the year 1999.
Although I respect Ennis for at least reaching out to me before publishing the hit piece, her past does call into question her judgment, and possibly even her sanity. She shouldn’t be regarded as a credible journalist, much less an informed voice on medical transition in youth.
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