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ACL will bring Chloe Cole to Australia

The Australian Christian Lobby has announced they will bring Chloe Cole to Australia as part of their campaign against allowing transgender youth to receive gender affirming medical treatment.

Warning: This story has details of comments which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

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Cole is a US activist who opposes the gender affirming care model. Cole shares her story of transitioning gender after being diagnosed with gender dysphoria when she was nine years old, and then going on to receive puberty blockers and cross sex hormones.

Cole underwent a double mastectomy when she was 17, but later chose to live as the gender she was assigned at birth.

Chloe Cole by Gage Skidmore.

Cole has become one of the most well-known cases of someone de-transitioning and she has regularly appeared in media reports and alongside conservative politicians.

While many studies have shown that the rate of people regretting undergoing gender transition and surgery is very low, those who have made the decision to return to living as their gender assigned at birth are often championed in the conservative media.

Over the last year Cole has appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in the USA, as well as appearing alongside politicians bringing in bills against allowing transgender youth to access gender affirming health care.

In an email the Australian Christian Lobby said it was bringing Cole to Australia as part of their push to have inquiries into transgender health care at both a federal level and within each state as well.

“The attack on biblical truth surrounding gender is relentless, spanning legislative chambers, media platforms, and jurisdictions.   

“Children are being ensnared in a cruel ideology that denies biological reality, leading to a lifetime of medical interventions and emotional scars.” ACL CEO Michelle Pearse said in an email.

Pearse said Cole story showed “the risk of altering God’s natural design through gender ideology and medical interventions.”

Studies show rates of regret among transgender people are extremely low

In Australia children can be prescribed puberty blockers to halt the onset of puberty and can under medical supervision then go on to be treated with cross-sex hormones. Surgical procedures for people under 18 however are extremely rare.

A 2023 study from the University of Michigan, published in the journal JAMA Surgery looked into 235 patients who had undergone a gender affirming mastectomy over the last 30 years.

They found that the median satisfaction rate among those patients was five out of five, and that not a single patient in the study regretted their decision to change gender. The study centred around a single medical provider, and researchers say the next step will be to look at satisfaction rates across multiple providers.

Previous studies have also shown that the level of regret is extremely low. A study of 6793 people who sought gender-affirming services at the multi-disciplinary VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam between 1972 and 2015 found that patients who underwent a gonadectomy had a regret rate of 0.6 % for trans women and 0,3% for transmen. They acknowledge that rate of regret may be higher though as many patients did not continue seeing the clinic for follow ups.

One of the largest studies into transgender levels of regret was the US Transgender Survey that took place in 2015. It included 27,715 adults, and they asked if patients had ever, even if only temporarily detransitioned.

Rates of detransition were higher in transgender women (11%) than transgender men (4%). The most common reasons cited were pressure from a parent (36%), transitioning was too hard (33%), too much harassment or discrimination (31%), and trouble getting a job (29%).

In 2024 a new study conducted at the Child and Adolescent Health Service Gender Diversity Service at Perth Children’s Hospital showed the rate of patients who reidentify with their sex registered at birth is very low.

The study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on 4th March 2024 showed that 5.3% of young people reidentified with the birth registered sex before or during assessment, only 1% of patients who initiated medical treatment detransitioned.

Image of Chloe Cole by Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America – Chloe Cole, CC BY-SA 2.0

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