By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter
A group of detransitioners spoke at a recent school board meeting in California amid concerns about public schools exposing students to gender ideology, warning that such content increases the likelihood that minors will rush to embrace “irreversible” decisions to their long-term detriment.
Three young adults who formerly identified as trans spoke at a school board meeting for the Conejo Valley Unified School District in Ventura County, California, last week. Chloe Cole, an 18-year-old woman who has launched a support group for individuals who have come to regret undergoing gender transitions called Detrans United, was among three detransitioners who told their stories to the school board at a recent meeting.
Detrans United shared their testimonies on its Twitter account Thursday, noting that the purpose of their remarks was to “voice our concerns about their policies that allow confused children to come to harm.” Cole indicated on her Twitter account that the distribution of a book introducing 8-year-olds to the word “transgender” was the primary reason she decided to call into the school board meeting.
Cole shared screenshots of the book, titled Call Me Max, which declared that although “transgender is a long word,” it “means something simple.” The book laid out how “trans means going across” while “gender means being a boy or girl or a little of both.” Another page of the book adds, “When a baby is born, a grown-up says, ‘IT’S A BOY!’ or ‘IT’S A GIRL!’”
Call Me Max embraced the idea that trans-identified children know that they were born in the wrong body from birth: “If a brand-new baby could talk, sometimes that baby might say, ‘NO I’M NOT!’ When a baby grows up to be transgender, it means that the grown-up who said they were a boy or a girl made a mistake.”
The school board meeting that Cole and the two other detransitioners called into was held on Oct. 11, which coincided with National Coming Out Day, an occasion that encourages LGBT youth to come forward about their sexual identities. One speaker addressed National Coming Out Day in her remarks.
“Growing up, I hated dresses and skirts. I hit puberty at 9 years old and I hated my developing breasts,” Cole recalled. “I hated growing into a woman. I didn’t identify at all with the women around me.”
Cole explained that her discomfort with her biological sex led her to decide that she “wanted to become a boy.” She began socially transitioning by adopting a boy’s name for herself, cutting her hair and wearing boys’ clothes.
“My parents were supportive but they weren’t sure what to do with me, so they sought the help of mental professionals who manipulated them into allowing me to do whatever I wanted to do with myself,” Cole said. She began to take puberty blockers at age 13, and had her breasts amputated at age 16.
Cole lamented the lack of time between her initial referral to receive the double mastectomy and the surgery itself, which amounted to six months. “Very quickly, I was given what I wanted but it was far from what I needed. Two years later, I was still suffering from major complications,” she added. While Cole did not specify when exactly she began to regret taking significant steps to change her gender, she elaborated on the long-term consequences of her hasty decisions.
“I will not be able to breastfeed any children I have in the future and my sexuality has permanently been affected because I was allowed to make adult decisions starting at 13, and then again at 15. This is what happens when children are sexualized and exposed to developmentally inappropriate and confusing content and ideas from a young age. This is what happens when we treat children like adults and expect them to have the mental faculties for proper long-term decision making.”
Cole concluded her testimony with a message to the school board: “You are placing children in direct harm. Children deserve better.”
A round of applause followed Cole’s remarks. After Cole finished speaking, another detransitioner, Cat Cattinson, began to outline her concerns about gender ideology in public schools in remarks delivered via telephone: “I was introduced to gender ideology when I was 13 years old. I began identifying as the opposite sex, a man, and believing this negatively affected me for the next 15 years.”
“For the record, coming out as gay is entirely different than coming out as another gender,” she suggested. Cattinson condemned surgeons who are performing mastectomies on underage girls, saying it’s an “irreversible procedure that will prevent this person from ever breastfeeding.” In addition to her status as a detransitioner, Cattinson used her experience as a molecular biologist to dismiss the central idea of gender ideology.
Cattinson added: “Humans cannot change sex. It’s impossible and trying to appear as the opposite sex comes with significant health risks such as infertility, osteoporosis and many more as well. Puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries are irreversible.”
As her remarks came to a close, Cattinson contended that “there is a serious lack of quality research that any of these interventions improve mental health or prevent suicide in the long term.” Like Cole, Cattinson’s remarks drew a round of applause.
Abel Garcia, a male detransitioner, also addressed the board to speak out against “the push that they are doing right now to our children with the transgender ideology.” Garcia stressed that “we cannot expect children as young as they are right now to believe that they can change their sex with cross-sex hormones and irreversible surgeries.”
Garcia detailed how he had breast implants at age 21. Implying that he did not have the maturity to make such a decision, the detransitioner told the board: “I cannot expect a child, a high school male or elementary child, to understand the full extent of damages that will be done to their bodies if an adult like myself wasn’t able to.”
For her part, Conejo Valley Unified School District Trustee candidate Lisa Powell insisted in a Twitter post shortly after the board meeting concluded that “CA state law requires schools to support and affirm transgender students.” “As a trustee, I will support and affirm our transgender students — not only because it’s the law, but because it’s the right thing to do,” she vowed.
CA state law requires schools to support and affirm our transgender students. As a trustee, I will support and affirm our transgender students – not only because it’s the law, but because it is the right thing to do.— Lisa Powell (@Powell4CVUSD) October 12, 2022
At the previous school board meeting on Sept. 20, a parent slammed the Conejo Valley Unified School District for its response to a seventh-grade boy masturbating in class. She attributed his inappropriate behavior to the school district’s sex education curriculum.
“It does not take an expert to figure out what happens to a 13-year-old boy when he’s staring at mostly naked girls wearing underwear to school and being exposed to concepts like oral and anal sex in seventh grade,” she said. “They let children write the dress code. The Teen Talk comprehensive sex ed is not age-appropriate and neither are supported by parents and teachers have spoken out adamantly against this.”
In a statement published Monday, the Conejo Valley Unified School District has decried what it has described as “on-going social media warfare and print disinformation campaigns” as part of an effort to “create false narratives from email snippets, social media posts, half statements made at Board meetings, and printed disinformation.”
According to district leadership, “What was once lively discourse at our Board of Education meetings during public comments and agendized topics has escalated to a concerted and organized effort to create chaos and further narratives that are unfounded and simply have nothing to do with current action items nor Board duties and business.”
Besides noting that district officials experienced death threats, the statement did not provide specific examples of actions it found troubling. It did, however, proclaim that the “sensationalizing of rumors and months-old reported incidents must stop,” in what appeared to be a veiled reference to the remarks at the Sept. 20 board meeting regarding the in-class masturbation that took place in May. District officials suggested that “these fictitious narratives are being wrongly used to politicize incidents involving our students.”
The Conejo Valley Unified School District crafted a fact sheet, which was last updated on Oct. 14, to respond to parental concerns about the sex education curriculum. It states that parents can opt out of the curriculum if they so choose.