Discover more from Reality’s Last Stand
We’re Not Going Away: My Response to the New York Times Hit Piece
Our numbers will soon be too large for the New York Times to dismiss as a “few stories of regret.”
Yesterday, New York Times reporter Maggie Astor published a hit piece about me in an attempt to undermine my story and the testimonies of other detransitioners. Now that I’ve had some time to process everything more completely, I’d like to address some of the inaccuracies and falsehoods that Astor wrote about me—beginning with the disingenuous title, “How a Few Stories of Regret Fuel the Push to Restrict Gender Transition Care.”
I take issue with Astor’s flagrant use of the word “regret,” which implies a benign mistake like a bad tattoo—something I wasn’t even allowed to get until I turned 18 last year. No, I was a child when I was misinformed and misled by adults, who convinced me to permanently alter my body.
I learned through social media when I was 11 about boys and girls being trapped in the “wrong body”—an impossibility that should never have been “affirmed” by doctors. I was told by health professionals whom I trusted that I had a medical condition that required medical treatment. Not only that, but my parents were emotionally manipulated by being presented with a false dilemma—“would you rather have a dead daughter or a living son?”—despite the fact that suicidality is routinely overexaggerated in trans-identified youth.
Astor relies on the euphemism “transition care” when she means “chemical and surgical sex change services.” This is neither medically necessary nor lifesaving, but rather elective, cosmetic, and experimental.
Astor also flipplantly refers to my detransition as “changing course,” implying I merely took a wrong turn instead of having doctors affirm my confusion with experimental medicine. She says I “returned to my female identity,” but being female is not an identity. It is a biological reality that describes half the human population. It is something I never stopped being despite the fact that when I was 13-15, doctors prescribed me puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgically removed my breasts to try to mold me into something that superficially resembled a boy.
Astor neglects to mention the vocal European detransitioners and how European medical societies have backed off of “gender-affirming care” after conducting systematic reviews of evidence and finding that the risks outweigh any purported benefits. She also referred to outdated statistics on detransition which include studies on adults rather than the cohort I belong to—adolescents under the “gender-affirming” model of care. These studies also had serious methodological flaws and a high loss to follow up rate.
Another statistic she likely referenced was from a study about detransitioners that specifically excluded detransitioners. Participation in the study was limited only to those who had detransitioned in the past but still identified as trans–in other words, not people like me.
If Astor had researched the topic properly, she would have discovered a recent US-based comprehensive review of medical records that found 30 percent of teens and young adults had discontinued “gender-affirming” hormones after 4 years. Another US study from this year that challenges the notion that detransition is rare found that 29 percent of youth changed their requests for hormone treatment, surgery, or both. And yet another study from a UK primary care practice found that 12.2 percent of those who had started hormonal treatments either detransitioned or documented regret, while the total of 20 percent stopped the treatments for a wider range of reasons. The authors of this study observed that the detransition rate in emerging research brings forth crucial concerns regarding the possibility of “overdiagnosis, overtreatment, or iatrogenic harm,” similar to issues encountered in other areas of medicine.
A 2021 study found that three-quarters of detransitioners did not report their detransition to their providers, thus potentially creating a false impression that they were satisfied with the “care” they received. Norway’s health authorities confirm that detransitioners updating their providers is “not a given.”
It is not true that there are only a few vocal detransitioners in the US. Many have spoken out online, but only a few have the time to travel and testify. It’s not easy to open yourself up to an onslaught of criticism, blame, and hit pieces from the New York Times. It’s not easy to go public with details of your private life.
There have been many instances of detransitioners getting overwhelmed from the response to their story and deactivating their social media accounts. Hundreds more reside in support groups and remain anonymous, not wanting the stigma and negative attention.
Lawmakers shouldn’t have to restrict sex changes to adults, but US-based medical organizations are not doing their job at following the science. If they would conduct systematic reviews of the evidence, they would likely come to the same conclusions as European countries, which have heavily restricted medical interventions for minors and specific psychotherapy as the “first line of treatment” for teens in distress over their bodies.
US-based guidelines ignored an entire body of research that found the majority of children who do not socially or medically transition will no longer experience gender-related distress in adulthood. Instead, most of them grow up to be gay or lesbian adults.
Pioneers of the evidence-based medicine (EBM) movement said the current guidelines for managing gender dysphoria in adolescents in the US are “untrustworthy” and not evidence-based.
Astor took a shot at me for the detransition rally I helped organize in March, but our event was exactly how I planned. My heart hurts every time I see a new detransitioner come out, but soon our numbers will be too large for the New York Times to dismiss as a “few stories of regret.”
Support Chloe Cole by donating here.
Buy “Gender Wars” collectible playing cards by Nina Paley below!
Reality’s Last Stand is 100% reader-supported. If you enjoyed this article, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription or making a recurring or one-time donation below. Your support is greatly appreciated.