September 26, 2022

Transportation Sec. Buttigieg targeted with homophobic tweets
California ex-trans teen is national right-wing media’s darling
New York Times editorial condemns anti-LGBTQ censorship
GOP U.S. House incumbent tied to extremist anti-LGBTQ+ pastor
Corporate Dark Money too easily undermines democracy
Newsom announces free online tutoring, grants to improve libraries
Home of mayoral candidate Karen Bass burglarized; firearms stolen
Long Beach police investigating double stabbing at gay bar
Triple A:  Gas prices reverse course due to refinery issues
I Matter-Girls empowerment conference at East LA College 
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Sheriff’s detectives seek potential victims WeHo sex assault case
West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week
West Hollywood distributes test strips to bars for date-rape drugs
West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval cancelled, third year in-a-row
Home of mayoral candidate Karen Bass burglarized; firearms stolen
Two shot during follow home robbery, LAPD needs public’s help
Former fire fighter sparks Black LGBTQ+ LA rally for Brittney Griner
LAPD: Body found on fire hanging in tree in Griffith Park likely a suicide
LAPD respond after protestors disrupt LA City Council vote on homeless
Longtime LGBTQ+ journalist & editor Thomas Senzee dies at 54
Trans Palm Springs Mayor responds to anti-LGBTQ+ Texas Governor
Historic swearing in of Lisa Middleton as Palm Springs Mayor
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The San Diego Union-Tribune: Tijuana Gay Men’s Chorus
San Diego County man charged with a hate crime after homophobic attack
Trans woman ‘viciously attacked’ in men’s jail cell lawsuit says
US Navy Fleet Oiler & supply ship, USNS Harvey Milk launches
Dignitaries tour the 60% completed USNS Harvey Milk
Disney-themed drag brunch cancelled after violent threats in Texas
Montana restricts birth certificate changes for transgender people
Alaska Airlines’s gendered dress codes are likely discriminatory
21 years later, Americans remembering Sept. 11, 2001
Boise Pride cancels drag show after GOP state chair’s rant
Massive far-right protests as EuroPride commences in Belgrade
Sri Lanka government will not oppose discrimination bill
Kenya president-elect says LGBTQ+, intersex rights ‘not a big issue’
The King’s speech to the UK, the Commonwealth & the world
Queen Elizabeth II dies
School cop hurls Anti-Gay slurs at gay kid
End anti-Trans discrimination in credit reporting practices
Texas Christians attack AIDS prevention drugs
What letters from a nun taught me about religious (in)tolerance
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Director sheds light on George Michael’s struggle with the closet
‘Knocking Myself Up’ a hilarious, hopeful read
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‘A League of Their Own’ series proves there is crying in baseball
For Gaiman fans, ‘Sandman’ is a ‘Dream’ come true
NPH is ‘Uncoupled’ in new Netflix sitcom
The Los Angeles Blade congratulates KTLA on its L.A.-area Emmy awards
The annual LA Times 101 list is here at last
Hit Instagram smash burger pop-up Chris N Eddy’s debuts in Hollywood
LA’s comeback, a lesbian community leader has a starring role
West Hollywood’s ‘Out On Robertson’ official launch
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“Hamilton” creators donate monetary damages to LGBTQ+ group
Playwright queers a famous president in ‘Lavender Men’
“Hadestown” now at LA’s Ahmanson Theater
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Director sheds light on George Michael’s struggle with the closet
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Two new political memoirs reveal how the sausage of democracy is made
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Calhoun and O’Hara give us hope that art will still be a life force
Newport Beach-based cardiologist Dr. Danielle Belardo says Oz is a symptom of broader & more systemic problems in American healthcare systems
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NEWPORT BEACH, Ca – By now, most folks are probably familiar with the widely ridiculed video released by Mehmet Oz’s Senatorial campaign, which followed his journey through a supermarket’s produce section on a mission to find ingredients for a crudité platter (otherwise known as a vegetable tray).
Oz’s Democratic opponent in the Senate race, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, was quick to join the online mockery over the viral video, which began with the celebrity doctor’s announcement that he was at “Wegners” (not a real place, though possibly a portmanteau of Wegmans and Redner’s, two actual grocery chains with stores in Pennsylvania.) 
In response, the Oz camp told Business Insider that had he “ever eaten a vegetable in his life,” perhaps Fetterman would not have suffered a stroke in May. That provoked a strong rebuke from Real Doctors Against Oz, a group of more than 100 Pennsylvania physicians who have vocally raised their objections to the candidate’s habit of promoting dangerous pseudoscience and dubious medical advice. 
But Oz’s peers in the scientific and medical community have been sounding the alarm about these concerns well before his campaign’s suggestion that a plate of crudité keeps the stroke away, as Newport Beach-based cardiologist Dr. Danielle Belardo told The Los Angeles Blade on Friday. 
Co-chair of the American Society for Preventive Cardiology Nutrition Committee, Dr. Belardo is an influential advocate for science-based medicine and accurate communication about health and nutrition, including through her podcast “Wellness: Fact vs. Fiction.” 
She told The Blade Oz is a symptom of broader and more systemic problems in the American healthcare system. And if elected, he would gain even more power and influence at a time in which the internet and social media have, by orders of magnitude, accelerated the spread of false information about science and medicine. 
“America’s Doctor” has already caused tremendous harm
Oz’s credentials are impeccable. It was not for no reason that Oz was once hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most accomplished cardiothoracic surgeons of his generation.” Triple board certified, he was vice-chair of Columbia University’s surgery department, the author of hundreds of peer-reviewed papers, and the recipient of several patents. Dr. Belardo pointed to his involvement in the creation of the MitraClip – a device used to treat leaky heart valves that effectively replaced the conventional treatment, a far riskier open-heart surgery. (A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found it could save millions of lives.) 
Oz’s subsequent “foray into pseudoscience,” Dr. Belardo said, “was quite a departure from his previous career.” 
After becoming a public figure through his appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Oz won a national audience and a wildly popular daytime TV program. There, he embraced and promoted ideas about science and medicine that, in many cases, even a layperson would be capable of correctly identifying as pseudoscientific quackery. (The reasons why he chose this path are a mystery not worth exploring here. A lengthy 2013 New Yorker profile offers some answers, none that are particularly satisfying.) 
According to research in the British Medical Journal, which analyzed the overall quality of health claims made on “The Dr. Oz Show,” fewer than half of a sample of recommendations made on the program were supported by any credible evidence. 
Below is semi-complete accounting of the ways in which Oz abused his platform as “America’s Doctor” over 13 seasons from 2009 to 2022.

Oz is not alone
Few American physicians can boast of professional accomplishments in science and medicine that rival Oz’s. None have attained his level of celebrity. But with respect to providers who peddle pseudoscience despite having the education and professional training to know better, or despite having ties to respected institutions like academic research hospitals, Oz is not unique.
Dr. Belardo pointed to Mark Hyman of the renowned Cleveland Clinic, a trained MD who “promotes tons of misinformation about pseudoscience…selling things like detoxes and cleanses.” The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) branded him the “Dr. Oz of nutrition” for peddling pseudoscientific “lies” about dietary health, once going as far as to compare the harms of processed foods to the Holocaust. Hyman practices “functional medicine,” which ACSH described as “a form of alternative medicine that encompasses a number of unproven and disproven methods and treatments.”
“Unlike politics, when it comes to science there is no ‘two sides,’” Dr. Belardo said. “Scientific evidence is a process of critically evaluating data in a systematic and rigorous way and interpreting that data,” she said. Unlike politics, it’s based on facts, not feelings.
Likewise, “There’s no such thing as ‘alternative medicine’ and ‘regular medicine’ – there’s just medicine,” Dr. Belardo said, adding: “If something that might be considered ‘alternative’ has enough robust scientific evidence, it would be included in medical care” – for instance, in the guidelines published and maintained by major medical organizations.
“Alternative medicine” covers a variety of practices, often with fuzzy definitions and unclear distinctions. Among many others, common terms include “complementary and alternative medicine,” “wellness,” “integrated” or “integrative medicine,” “holistic medicine,” and “natural” or “naturopathic medicine.” 
They are all pseudoscience – lacking biological plausibility, testability, reproducibility or repeatability, or evidence of their safety and efficacy (as gathered via clinical trials) – the very standards that, by contrast, are demanded of the diagnostic tools, pharmacological treatments, surgical procedures, and other forms of care offered in traditional medicine.
Sometimes, alternative medicine is provided as a supplement to traditional, evidence-based care, in which case it can be benign or even helpful – insofar as it may have a placebo effect or provide comfort to patients. In other cases, for a variety of reasons, people forego care from legitimate medical providers in favor of those practicing pseudoscience. 
Complicating matters is the fact that it can often be very hard to tell the difference, Dr. Belardo said: “Predatory pseudoscientific providers prioritize and take advantage of the people who don’t understand the scientific process.” They typically use scientific language that only those with formal medical training would be able to recognize as bogus – and even doctors can be misled. 
“Even though I’m a physician, I still can get duped and confused about scientific claims that are outside my specialty,” Dr. Belardo said. She added that some of the claims about “clean” beauty products – billed as less harmful to the skin and body because they are free from synthetic chemicals – looked facially plausible to her but did not hold up to scrutiny by “rigorously scientific dermatologists.”  
Practitioners with formal training in legitimate medicine like Hyman and Oz further “muddy the waters,” Dr. Belardo said, lending the veneer of legitimacy to pseudoscientific practices while sowing doubt and mistrust towards lifesaving evidence-based medicine.
Pseudoscience kills
The financial incentives for practicing pseudoscience are considerable. The providers and businesses associated with non-evidence based medical practice (like supplement companies) are making lots of money, Dr. Belardo said. The industry is also backed by a powerful lobby and faces far less regulation than traditional medicine. 
Many patients seeing pseudoscientific providers will pay out-of-pocket for products, supplements, treatments, and procedures that are often not covered by insurance and have not been proven safe, nor shown any therapeutic effect for the treatment of any disease or health condition. 
Other patients will suffer physical harms. Dr. Belardo said she has seen arrythmias, liver toxicity and failure, and bad interactions with prescribed heart medicines from patients because they were treated by an alternative provider who gave them underregulated herbal medications and supplements. 
That is hardly the full extent of the problem, however. “When we think about harms we’re not just talking about unregulated supplements – which can cause harms – but rather, something I see frequently, harms from misdiagnoses,” Dr. Belardo said. In such cases, the patient sees “an alternative provider and it delays the diagnosis of an underlying medical condition that requires guideline-directed medical therapy and treatment.”  
Dr. Belardo recounted a case where a gastroenterologist in her practice saw a patient who had been prescribed supplements for an iron deficiency, under the care of an alternative provider who did not perform a workup to determine the underlying cause of her condition. When Dr. Belardo’s colleague did a colonoscopy/upper endoscopy on the patient, per the diagnostic protocol, she discovered stage 4 colon cancer. “Had that been caught two years earlier, it would be a different scenario,” Dr. Belardo said. 
There are even more extreme examples of negligent and harmful practices by alternative providers. For example, a few years ago, a California patient died after a naturopathic doctor intravenously administered curcumin as a supposed treatment for eczema. The provider was previously among 34 defendants served with a lawsuit for their use or advertising of so-called “ozone therapies,” through which the toxic gas is injected into joints or into a patient’s rectum or vagina with a catheter. 
In 2020, a practice in Dallas was ordered to stop claiming that ozone therapy can cure covid, an example of a larger trend identified by Canada’s Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), which wrote in 2020 that “Alternative medicine practitioners are leveraging the fear around coronavirus to sell products and procedures that are scientifically unproven.”
Oz and others practicing pseudoscience accelerate the spread of false information about science and medicine
The IRPP also linked alternative medicine to the proliferation of online misinformation about covid, with different “specialties” associated with different forms of “harmful noise”: Naturopaths have recommended useless supplements as preventative solutions as well as treatments, while homeopaths have endorsed a concoction later shown to cause liver damage. Aromatherapists and acupuncturists have stepped in to offer their services, which are comparatively benign but no more useful for the prevention or treatment of covid (or any other virus, for that matter).
When it comes to harmful, false messages about vaccines, practitioners of alternative medicine are among the worst offenders. A 2018 NIH study found that childhood vaccinations were less likely to be up to date among families that consulted a practitioner of alternative (“complementary”) medicine and more likely to be up to date among families that saw a general practitioner. 
These problems get worse as Americans become less literate in health science, more susceptible to conspiratorial thinking, and more distrustful of modern medicine and legitimate health institutions. As Carl Sagan wrote, “Pseudoscience is embraced, it might be argued, in exact proportion as real science is misunderstood.”
“Unfortunately, I see it frequently and all too often,” Dr. Belardo said. “And this is actually something that physicians are seeing across the U.S., and it’s no longer just a southern California trend. With the advent of social media, pseudoscience and disinformation is accessible through the internet,” where it spreads widely and quickly, presenting problems that the medical community has been slow to understand and address. 
“Medicine is an older system. Our medical societies are just catching up with social media. The pandemic was first time many physicians who are older and who are higher up in our field began to grapple with the amount of misinformation that is spread on social media,” Dr. Belardo said. Thankfully, “major organizations are starting to take a stand,” she said, noting the American Medical Association’s pledge to intervene when misinformation about covid is spread online and on social media platforms. 
Oz’s election to Congress, certainly, would not help matters. “Just looking at his history of endorsing pseudoscientific views and non-evidence-based medicine, he is not someone capable of helping to elevate social media to a place where people can find trusted scientific information,” Dr. Belardo said. 
Oz may have soiled his reputation among his peers, but he did not earn the moniker of “America’s Doctor” or build a devoted fanbase that propelled his TV show to win nine Daytime Emmy Awards over its 13 seasons for no reason. With Americans’ confidence in Congress reaching a new low of 7% this year, is the public likelier to trust Oz’s opinion less than another Senator’s when they differ on issues like the safety of vaccines or public policy solutions to mitigate a new strain of covid? 
Lest anyone think this would come into play only in the context of immunizations and infectious disease, consider that Oz, who is armed with far greater expertise in science and medicine than now exists in the entire Congressional GOP caucus, was “just asking questions” in that segment on his show about whether conversion therapy should be considered a legitimate “treatment” for homosexuality and gender dysphoria. (Dr. Belardo called Oz’s unscientific and anti-LGBTQ+ framing of the topic “nauseating.”) 
In the Senate, Oz would have a powerful regulatory role over alternative medicine 
What is the difference between a wellness influencer and physician practicing pseudoscientific alternative medicine? Well, it might depend on where they live. To the extent that any regulation may exist, rules governing the practice of non-mainstream medicine differ tremendously state-by-state. 
Complicating matters, distinctions among the various forms of alternative medicine are unclear and confusing – as are the occupational titles and educational and training requirements of those who practice in the space. 
The classification and regulation of naturopaths provides a representative example of how alternative medicine is treated differently across different jurisdictions in America. According to overwhelming evidence presented in peer reviewed journals, naturopathic providers recommend against evidence-based medical testing, pharmacological treatments, vaccinations, and surgery in favor of unscientific diagnoses and treatments without evidentiary support. Quacks, in other words, who practice charlatanism and promote therapies that are often ineffective, harmful, and unethical. 
Seventeen U.S. states allow naturopathic doctors to use the designations ND (“Naturopathic Doctor”) or NMD (“Naturopathic Medical Doctor”). Among these states, 12 allow for some health insurance coverage. In these states, the widely discredited alternative medical practice is given the appearance of legitimacy. 
Even more alarming, 12 states and U.S. jurisdictions allow naturopaths to prescribe prescription medications, while nine allow them to perform minor surgeries. South Carolina and Tennessee specifically prohibit the practice of naturopathy. 
It is not difficult to imagine that if elected to the Senate, Oz would use his legislative powers to loosen regulations of alternative medical providers and associated industries or otherwise treat these actors favorably. 
In the absence of clear regulatory solutions to the multifaceted problems presented by alternative medicine and the spread of misinformation and disinformation, Dr. Belardo stressed the role of self-regulation by doctors – and the importance of advocating for evidence-based medicine wherever possible.

She pointed to California State Sen. Richard Pan (D-6), a practicing pediatrician as “a wonderful example.” Dr. Pan wrote a bill, signed into law in 2019, that prohibits fake medical exemptions for vaccinations of minors. For this, he was targeted with smear campaigns and violence from anti-vaccine advocates. 
In an interview with the AMA, Dr. Pan said he urges physicians to tell “their patients that the COVID vaccine is safe and effective. It’s been thoroughly evaluated, administered to hundreds of millions of people.” And “If their patients have questions, they should encourage them to ask those questions and get accurate answers from either themselves or trusted sources, like the American Academy of Pediatrics or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Dr. Belardo said other prominent figures in the medical community who have used their platforms to advocate for evidence-based science and medicine include Drs. Jennifer Gunter and Yoni Freedhoff. 
For laypeople, meanwhile, there are ways to filter out pseudoscience. Dr. Belardo said she advises her patients to find another provider if given a diagnosis or offered a treatment that contradicts with the scientific consensus of major medical organizations. These groups typically have resources and guidelines – unassailably reliable – that are written specifically for patients, she said.
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Co-chair of Michigan’s Republican party, referred to the first openly gay cabinet secretary as a “weak little girl”
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LANSING, Mi – As Pete Buttigieg, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT), continues his push for broader adoption of electric vehicle use, he was again targeted with homophobic attacks online.  
Meshawn Maddock, co-chair of Michigan’s Republican party, referred to the first openly gay cabinet secretary as a “weak little girl” on Twitter Sunday, as many were honoring those killed 21 years ago in the worst terrorist attack ever perpetrated on American soil. 
We’re so blessed this weak little girl moved to Michigan! Looks like he’s bringing all his California Dreaming here with him. https://t.co/85MQNcN3f1

Buttigieg is a decorated war veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 2009 to 2017, including in a deployment to Afghanistan in 2014. A DOT spokesperson and the Michigan Republican Party did not immediately return a request for comment on Maddock’s tweet. 
Meanwhile, on September 10, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus condemned the use of the agency’s official Twitter account for the West Texas region for offensive retweets and likes, including of homophobic posts targeting Buttigieg. 
These included a tweet in which the Transportation Secretary was called “Pete Buttplug” as well as content from former President Trump’s far-right senior advisor Stephen Miller.
Reached for comment, a spokesperson from a regional press office shared a statement excerpted from that which was tweeted by Magnus, who announced that @CBPWestTexas was deactivated and the offending content was removed. 
Totally unacceptable and disappointing that any CBP Twitter account was used to R/T offensive, unauthorized content. We’ve removed the content and will deactivate the account. The Office of Professional Responsibility will investigate. This must not happen again. pic.twitter.com/O0Vwr3K7nI

Bigoted attacks against Buttigieg by conservatives are not new. Last year, when the Secretary took a leave of absence to care for his and his husband Chasten’s newborn twins, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said he was “trying to figure out how to breastfeed.” 
Bizarrely, at a rally in March, extremist Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) said the couple should “stay out of our girls’ bathrooms,” which appeared to be an attempt to suggest they are sexual predators.
Cole has become the poster child for far-right politicians and religious conservatives working to ban these lifesaving medical treatments
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LOS ANGELES – Lawmakers in Sacramento as well as Florida, Ohio and Louisiana have heard the heartbreaking testimony of a Central Valley, California teenager who says she regrets beginning a gender transition at age 12. And that regret has been seized upon by anti-trans forces all around the world, eager to retell and retweet her harrowing story. 
Her name is Chloe Cole. After weeks of exchanging tweets with this reporter, she agreed to  an interview, via email. 
“I just want my tits back, Dawn,” Cole tweeted. “But that ain’t happening.”
I just want my tits back Dawn… but that ain’t happening. If wanting to end child castration is drinking the lemonade, then I’ll set up a stand. This is what it looks like when Dawn Ennis tries to “help me” https://t.co/IOJkkcxCmE pic.twitter.com/4I54b4gB2f
#ChloeCole was 15 years old when she agreed to undergo a #GenderTransitioning surgery. Here is how this life-altering decision changed her life and why she now deeply regrets it. pic.twitter.com/ycLyBLyW2T

Cole says she sought and was prescribed puberty blockers at age 13. That was in February 2018. She kept getting those Lupron injections for about a year, she says. Then, a month later, she says she started testosterone injections, for about two years, followed by top surgery at age 15. 
About a year post-op, Cole says she realized for the first-time that she may want to breast-feed someday, which was obviously impossible following her double mastectomy.
At 17, Cole says she stopped using the first name “Leo,” detransitioned, and resumed life as a girl. 
Starting in May, Cole has been traveling the country to testify against medical transition. She’s been on Fox News, too, denouncing gender-affirming care, because for her, she says it was a mistake. 

“I don’t feel like I understood all the ramifications that came with any of the medical decisions I was making,” Cole has said, over and over, in her testimony, claiming she wasn’t prepared for the difficult recovery or her inability to nurse a child. “I will never be able to do that as a mother.”
Now 18, Cole has become the poster child for far-right politicians and religious conservatives working to ban these lifesaving medical treatments and to prosecute the doctors and parents who support their children’s transitions, for child abuse. She calls herself a “former trans kid.”
“The gender dysphoria gets better every day through accepting the biological reality that while being a man may have its advantages, appropriating the stereotypes of men will never allow me to become one,” said Cole in an email Saturday. The Los Angeles Blade asked her if that means she does not consider trans men to be men. “Trans men are not biological males, so definitionally, they are not men. They still have XX chromosomes, they use hormones and surgery to approximate the experience. This does not mean that we shouldn’t treat these individuals with respect, but it does mean that there is a difference that we need to recognize as a society.” 
Despite Cole’s choice of words, matching that of many anti-trans activists, federal judges, the ACLU and now the Associated Press have made it clear that the transphobic terms, “biological male,” “biological female” and “biological sex” are nonsense words, coined during the North Carolina bathroom bill days specifically to oppress trans people.
Republican Congresswoman and anti-trans activist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) retweeted one of Cole’s most popular social media posts Thursday, showing a trans boy before and after transition and top surgery. The boy’s name, age and plastic surgeon were not disclosed; Cole told The Blade the photo belonged to a surgeon who she said used it to advertise. Greene tweeted: “This child is not old enough to vote, buy cigarettes, or watch an R rated movie, but they let her choose to have them cut her breast off.”
This child is not old enough to vote, buy cigarettes, or watch an R rated movie, but they let her choose to have them cut her breast off.

My Protect Children’s Innocence Act will stop this. https://t.co/wcyHXst6Ds

Greene did so in support of her latest attempt to have even one bill she’s sponsored passed by the House of Representatives. Greene’s H.R. 8731, dubbed the “Protect Children’s Innocence Act,” would make it a felony to perform any gender-affirming care on a minor, gives minors an avenue to sue such providers, and prohibits the use of federal funds for gender-affirming care or for health insurance covering such care. And just for good measure, if someone undocumented is caught providing that care, they’d be deported. 
“While I don’t agree with everything any politician says or does,” Cole told the Blade in an email, “I find her bill that protects children from the harm that I endured is a cause I can get behind.” Cole added that she would delete the post showing the post-op trans boy if their family requests it.
Greene’s brand of anti-trans animus is the kind of thing that prompted State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to introduce Senate Bill 107. As the Blade has reported, state senators sent Gov. Newsom that bill on Sept. 1, to make California a sanctuary state for children seeking gender-affirming healthcare. Before the vote, Cole was front and center to once again tell her story. 
My testimony against SB107 in front of Wiener and the Senate Judiciary Committee. pic.twitter.com/Jcy1gjiOXF

“I didn’t even know detransitioners existed until I was one,” Cole told state senators. “The worst part about my transition would be the long-term health effects that I didn’t knowingly consent to at the time. I developed urinary tract issues during my transition that seem to have gotten worse since my detransition. I have been getting blood clots in my urine and have an inability to fully empty my bladder. Because my reproductive system was still developing while I was on testosterone, the overall function of it is completely unknown. I have irreversible changes, and I may face complications for the rest of my life. I was failed by modern medicine.” 
Cole has stuck to that script since May, with minor adjustments. The Blade asked her if she has someone else writing or helping her write her testimony. 
“My own comments on my lived experience are more valuable than anything a PR rep could ever come up with,” said Cole. “The insinuation that a young woman can’t write a coherent testimony is extremely misogynistic.” 
When informed her response was not a denial, Cole replied in a follow-up email: “My public comments are all my words, the insinuation apparent in that line of questioning (that I need someone to write for me or that I’m some sort of puppet) is ridiculously misogynistic.”
When she sat down with Florida’s anti-trans Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo in July, her story changed dramatically. She speculated that her four years on testosterone might endanger her ability to become a mother and medical transition might also put her at risk for cancer
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to fully carry a child, and I might be at increased risk for certain cancers, mainly cervical cancer,” Cole said in a video tweeted by Ladapo. 
Florida doesn’t support the medicalization of minors with GD because the benefits are unproven, and the risks are extraordinarily high.

Chloe was treated with puberty blockers and testosterone at the age of 13. @ChoooCole was courageous enough to share her story with us. pic.twitter.com/vL8SF5BH0o

She may be right: Two doctors at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary who studied trans men attempting to get pregnant last year determined that testosterone “can cause abnormal urogenital development in a female fetus,” which is why trans men are advised to stop injecting T prior to trying to conceive a child. But other researchers say they have insufficient data to determine the cervical cancer risk for people who transitioned from female to male. 
If you’re reading this and wondering, where are Cole’s parents in all this? She says they’re staying out of the media spotlight on purpose. The Blade sought an interview with Cole’s parents, but she declined to make them available, citing fear of reprisal from advocates for transgender youth and their allies. 
“My parents don’t want the spotlight due to the hostility and danger induced by many trans rights activists on the internet,” she told the Blade. “For an example: I received a threat from an unidentified nonbinary individual [Friday] via Twitter threatening to scrape out my eyes with bowls.”
Cole’s horrible encounter is certainly something trans people and their allies can understand, given the growing level of hate and violence visited upon them in increasing numbers each year. When the Blade asked her, “Why would your parents want to avoid the spotlight yet leave you unprotected?” and subsequently asked about her relationship with her mother and father, Cole declined to respond. 
They would have had to consent to every step of her medical transition, including when she was 15 and underwent top surgery.
When asked if she blamed her parents, or holds them responsible for consenting to her treatments and surgery, she answered: No. 
“My parents received intense social pressure and pressure from medical professionals,” she wrote. “They were told the classic among child transition stories, ‘Would you like a dead daughter or a live son?’ I don’t blame them for this, they were misinformed, like many parents put in this situation. None of us were aware of the word ‘detransition’ until it happened to me.”
Another fan of Cole’s is the infamous LibsOfTikTok, aka Chaya Raichik, who wrote in a rant on her Substack that gender-affirming care is “mutilating the body.” Cole follows Raichik and she follows Cole, who tweeted last week that she hoped Raichik won’t “back down from exposing what happens at these ‘gender clinics.’” She called it “one of the most important issues of my generation.”
Last month, Raichik published and tweeted recordings and screenshots that she claimed proved surgeons were performing hysterectomies, double mastectomies and orchiectomies on children at The Center for Gender Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital and Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Both hospitals were subsequently targeted with a series of bomb threats, as recently as Friday. Children’s hospitals in other cities have also been targeted as a result of Raichik’s campaign, which has resulted in temporary bans on some of her social media platforms.
But it’s a campaign based on lies; The factchecking team at Politifact determined Raichik’s viral claim was false. While there have been exceptions for some 15, 16 and 17-year-olds, most surgeons won’t operate on anyone younger than 18. 
The Blade asked Cole for her opinion on LibsOfTikTok, Kiwifarms, and the threats against hospitals providing gender-affirming care and their targeting of libraries hosting drag queen story hours. “I condemn any/all violence,” she said. “Reporting on Children’s Hospitals hurting children is not violence.” 
Does Cole consider Raichik a journalist, since she used the word “reporting?” 
“Chaya is a Twitter user that posts about many things,” she wrote. “One of the things she decides to post about is the atrocities that are committed in pediatric gender clinics. She just happens to do it better than most of the mainstream media. As far as incitement of violence? The only reliable metric for that would be SCOTUS precedent and based on precedent like Brandenberg v. Ohio, calling this an incitement of violence would get you laughed out of court.” 
In citing Brandenberg, Cole is referencing a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1969 that decided a state law violated the First Amendment right to free speech of a leader in the Ku Klux Klan. 
Cole went on to say, “I condemn violence completely, I’ve condemned the violence against children’s hospitals numerous times via Twitter and I’ve condemned the violence that Boston Children’s Hospital perpetuates against gender confused kids like the administration of puberty blockers with common, awful side effects, the removal of healthy breast tissue, and castration.”
As the Blade has reported, both Boston Children’s and Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. have issued statements denying what Cole and Raichik are claiming, and explaining that the surgeries are only performed with consent and as part of a long-term gender transition evaluation that includes mental health professionals. 
The Blade reached out to Raichik Saturday evening for comment, but did not receive a response as of press time. As for Kiwifarms, which as the Blade reported last week, is no longer hosted by Cloudflare after repeatedly encouraging followers to target trans women and even Rep. Greene with doxxing and swatting, Cole said: I know very little about Kiwifarms but if they’re doing stuff like that, they should stop.”
As for the protests against libraries that host drag queen story hours, Cole again said: “I condemn any/all violence,” But in her next sentence she echoed what LIbsofTikTok, The Proud Boys, Gov. Ron DeSantis and other anti-drag activists have said: “The hyper-sexualization innate in most drag performances is not age appropriate for children.” 
Does she oppose drag kings, too? “I’ve never really seen much on drag kings,” she said. “However, I would suggest keeping children away from themes and events that originate in bars and nightclubs.”
Since her emergence on the public scene in April, trans adults have been digging into Cole’s claims. Some note the fact that surgery takes years of planning and preparation and is not done on a whim or under pressure. There is rampant speculation that her travel has been paid for by anti-LGBTQ activists; Cole denied that on Twitter, noting, “The only people who have bought and sold me—and my body—are the ‘gender specialists’ and surgeons that sold my family and I a lie.” The Blade asked her to elaborate on this question as part of our email exchange. “My trips are self-funded with help from crowdfunding via Twitter tips,” she said. 
Some wonder about the total silence from and invisibility of her parents, while others question whether she is being coached, based on how she appears eloquent when reading her prepared testimony, but speaks haltingly and struggles to answer direct questions. 
Chloe was on Ingraham tonight and it's worth a watch to see how she responds to questions. Her body language says more than her words. This isn't someone passionate about her cause. This is someone coached who isn't prepared to answers unscripted questions https://t.co/aWqVdNjP0Y

Another example can be seen following her May testimony before Ohio lawmakers: Cole alternates between being unable to answer questions coherently, then responding with apparently rehearsed answers posed by Republican lawmakers. 
Still others have doubted her account because of medical inconsistencies in her treatment and subsequent health conditions. 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. Cole tweeted that her doctor did not follow the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care. 
Another question is whether the tweets sent from @choocole are even composed by Chloe Cole herself. The Twitter account she was using as recently as July, @puddingpandan, appears to be no longer active. 
It’s pretty clear that C**loe Cole is not the person tweeting from her account. Won’t share the offensive posts as of late but they read more like an adult or adults with an agenda & not of something a 17 y/o would be talking about.

Cole said that’s not the case. “I just changed my Twitter handle from @puddingpandan to @ChooCole because I thought it was irrelevant to my message,” she wrote. “I’ve used the same Twitter account from the start.”
She repurposed a familiar line when asked who composes her tweets: “The insinuation that a young woman can’t write a coherent tweet is extremely misogynistic.”
“Regardless of what anyone’s perception of a double mastectomy is…  Cosmetic surgery that rids a young female of her unique ability to feed her future children is not something a child is old enough to fully grasp the importance of,” Cole said. “It’s an unethical practice that must be stopped.”
There’s no denying Cole is suffering as a result of what she describes as her realization, two years ago, that she’d never breastfeed. But the facts, whatever they are in Cole’s case, aren’t as important as the reality, which is that hers is still just one case, heartbreaking as it may be; Cole is an outlier compared to the vast majority of positive outcomes, as cited by journalist Zack Ford. 
Last year, Ford reported fewer than 5% of people who undergo a gender transition experience regret it later, and as NBC News has reported, detransitions occurred in 0.4% of respondents who said they realized, like Cole, that transition was not right for them. Of course, gender transition cannot fix underlying mental health or personality issues. 
Cole maintains expecting a child to understand the real life consequences of gender surgeries is unconscionable. 
“Justifying the idea that a minor can consent to something like this is akin to the idea that a minor can consent to sex, tobacco or alcohol consumption, or any legally binding documents,” she wrote. “It is not okay no matter what lens you view it through. In California, my home state, a minor can’t even enter a tanning booth. It’s unethical to perform these surgeries on minors.”
But that’s why parents are made responsible for signing consent decrees. She had this to say in response:
“Parents should not be able to consent for a minor in this situation, especially when they face extreme external pressures to consent,” said Cole. “Signing away the ability to have kids, feed kids, achieve orgasm when they are old enough to get into a sexual relationship, etc., is an extremely personal decision that needs to be made at the age of majority/fully developed mental faculties.”
Whatever their reasons, no matter their number, Cole and other detransitioners do deserve support, understanding and counseling, even as some become political pawns for anti-trans forces. For example, Cole frequently tweets at and is retweeted by staffers in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office. She tags Democratic opponents of their Republican boss and denounces Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care, which the DeSantis administration has banned. Which is interesting, since her Kaiser medical coverage reportedly paid for her own medical transition, including her surgery.
But in being politically active and denouncing gender-affirming care, detransitioners and their supporters can cause deliberate harm to trans and nonbinary youth, something that may be rooted in the suffering they have experienced or are experiencing.  
In mid-July, Cole started a GoFundMe called Imperfectly Me, aimed at providing a platform for detransitioners. As of press time, it is far short of its $15,000 goal, with a total of $5.00 donated by one anonymous person.
Cole requested The Blade not provide a link to this fund while she works to complete her website with the same name and same goal of supporting detransitioners.
“Censorship is the desperate rear-guard action of a movement that has already lost the fight for hearts and minds”
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NEW YORK – In a strongly worded essay published Saturday, the editorial board of the New York Times, one of the nation’s influential media outlets, condemned the ongoing acts of censorship by so-called conservatives, GOP operatives, far-right politicians and others such as the ‘Moms For Liberty’ anti-LGBTQ group based in Florida but with national chapters, attempting to erase mention of LGBTQ+ people, their lives and their history.
The NYT Editorial Board wrote:
Fights about free speech can feel rhetorical until they are not. Here’s what censorship looks like in practice: A student newspaper and journalism program in Nebraska shuttered for writing about pride month. The state of Oklahoma seeking to revoke the teaching certificate of an English teacher who shared a QR code that directed students to the Brooklyn Public Library’s online collection of banned books. A newly elected district attorney in Tennessee musing openly about jailing teachers and librarians.
In Florida today it may even be illegal for teachers to even talk about who they love or marry thanks to the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. Of course, it goes far beyond sex: The sunshine state’s Republican commissioner of education rejected 28 different math textbooks this year for including verboten content.
Acts of censorship are often tacit admissions of weakness masquerading as strength. This weakness is on full display with the imposition of so-called educational gag orders, laws which restrict the discussions of race, gender, sexuality and American history in K-12 and higher education.
Trying to enshrine censorship into law is in an act of weakness masquerading as strength, writes the editorial board. “A political project convinced of the superiority of its ideas doesn’t need the power of the state to shield itself from competition.” https://t.co/xwHt0Z8jeY
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