Cole, a 19-year-old young woman from California’s Central Valley, is traveling the country telling people, including members of Congress, why the laws against gender-mutilation surgeries for minors – the laws many on the Left oppose – are necessary.
She had one such surgery, a double mastectomy that changed her body irreversibly, then decided life as a boy wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted to go back, and she chose to detransition.
“When I detransitioned, I actually got a really aggressive response from the transgender community, and the people who had celebrated me the most through my transition, especially when I got the surgery or went on hormone treatments, were now turning their backs on me and were saying the cruelest things to me,” Cole said on Washington Watch late last week.
Cole recently returned from a speaking engagement in Alaska where she shared her story of a childhood with more comfort around boys than girls and with undetected autism.
“I went through the process entirely as a minor. I was 12 when I started to socially transition, meaning that I chose a new name for myself, started calling myself a boy, and changing the way that I presented," Cole told show host Jody Hice. "Then at [age] 13 I started to go on the physical interventions, like puberty blockers and testosterone, and at 15, the summer after my sophomore year of high school had ended, was when I underwent the surgery."
A year after surgery to remove both breasts – at 16 years old -- Cole began to have second thoughts. She had thoughts of the future, thoughts of family.
“I realized that I had regretted all these interventions, that I was too young to be making decisions like this and that by doing all this I was losing parts of my adulthood before I could even call myself a woman -- and that one day I wanted to be able to have kids of my own,” Cole recalled.
It wasn’t only her transgender “friends” who left Cole when she chose to present as female again. The medical personnel who supported her gender transition journey put real pressure on her parents to make Cole stay the course.
“They told them that blood was going to be on their hands, that they were either going to have a dead daughter or a living transgender son," she recalls, "and that they only had those two choices. No other choices were presented to us.”
And no possible side effects or other dangers were presented when Cole’s parents began discussing a transition with doctors.
From the medical end it was full steam ahead.
“They never told them about the possibility that I would desist or detransition -- or of me regretting these procedures," she said. "They said that it was more likely that I would regret going through puberty than I ever would being on these interventions.”
Telling a child what a child wants to hear
Cole said doctors on the front end were just telling a child what a child wanted to hear instead of “thinking about what it might have been that I actually needed, which was psychotherapy, and just being given the chance to grow up.”
Now she views the return to presenting as her biological sex far more difficult and complicated than presenting as a male.
The lack of support left Cole facing “an incredibly lonely experience,” but one she’s been motivated to share.
“Very soon after I stopped transitioning, I started interacting in communities of other people who had gone through transition and regretted it, or had been damaged by it," she said. "I'm not the only one who has been hurt by this."
There is now an unknown number of others who have gone through the same experience, she concluded, and she is determined to "advocate" for those people, especially kids.
"To prevent it," she said, "from happening ever again.”
In July, when she testified before Congress, Cole broke down in tears after hearing from Myriam Reynolds, a second witness who is the parent of a transgender child.
"I understood that Mrs. Reynolds is scared for her child and I just want to set the record straight that I don't hate her, I don't think anybody in this room hates her," said Cole. "In fact, I see my own mother and my own father in her, and that clearly she really loves her child, and she's doing the best with what she's been given."