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Forbes Pulls Controversial Attack On Outspoken Detransitioner Activist

An article by an ex-ABC News journalist — who has changed sex identities multiple times — attacking a detransitioned woman-turned activist against radical gender theory was taken down by Forbes one day after publication.

The article, by Dawn Ennis, a biological male who identifies as transgender, originally ran as an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Blade on Sunday. When it was republished by Forbes the same day, it drew widespread criticism for factual inaccuracies and its allegedly defamatory treatment of Chloe Cole, an 18-year-old detransitioned autistic woman. By Monday evening, clicking on the link led to an error page.

“We removed that article because it violated our editorial guideline of publishing work that was published elsewhere in advance,” a spokesperson for Forbes told The Daily Wire. “We only accept original content.”

Cole, a California native, has become a target for supporters of radical gender theory since April, when she began speaking out about her experience medically transitioning. Cole began identifying as transgender at 12 years old, was prescribed puberty blockers and testosterone at 13, and obtained a double mastectomy surgery to remove her breasts at 15. Two years later, Cole realized she had made a mistake, and has since become a leader in the growing movement of young, outspoken detransitioners who claim they were pushed into irreversible medical interventions.

In the article, Ennis called Cole’s negative experience an “outlier,” but supports the claim with statistics on transition regret in adults, rather than the current cohort that Cole and others are most concerned about: adolescents with rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD). A recent UCLA survey found that the number of trans-identified teens ages 13-17 doubled to approximately 300,000 in the last five years. For activists like Cole, who believe minors are unable to give meaningful consent to sex-change surgeries, data on adult regret is not revelatory.

Ennis calls puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries “lifesaving medical treatments” in the article, which refers to the “affirm-or-suicide” myth, a debunked claim that says trans-identified minors are more likely to commit suicide if they are denied medical treatments. Studies claiming that “trans” youth are at elevated risk of suicide commonly compare their “trans” cohort to mentally healthy teenagers who don’t identify as trans. When researchers compared “trans” youth to teens with similar mental health problems, but not including gender dysphoria, there was little difference in suicide rates.

Ennis, who is not a trained biologist, also claimed that the terms “‘biological male,’ ‘biological female’ and ‘biological sex’ are nonsense words” invented “specifically to oppress trans people.” Many biologists disagree. According to developmental biologist Emma Hilton in a Wall Street Journal article titled “The Dangerous Denial of Sex,” the concept of biological sex was not invented to oppress transgender people, but represents an objective scientific fact, and one that needs to be acknowledged in order to protect the sex-based rights of women, gays and lesbians, and children.

In the article, Ennis attempted to discredit Cole by accusing her of changing parts of her story when she met in July with Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a fierce critic of radical gender theory, after testifying in favor of a state law barring the use of Medicaid funds to pay for medical interventions for gender dysphoria. Cole maintained that her testimony has remained consistent with her life story.

“It’s still my life and it’s never changed. Not a single detail,” Cole told The Daily Wire. 

Ennis also attempted to forge a connection between Cole and Libs of TikTok, the social media account that has been a frequent target of left-wing publications. Ennis wrote that minors are not obtaining genital surgeries, yet appeared to contradict the claim in the very next sentence.

“But it’s a campaign based on lies; The factchecking team at Politifact determined [the] viral claim was false,” Ennis wrote. “While there have been exceptions for some 15, 16 and 17-year-olds, most surgeons won’t operate on anyone younger than 18.”

Ennis has also attempted to sow doubt in the validity of Cole’s medical transition. “Some note the fact that surgery takes years of planning and preparation and is not done on a whim or under pressure,” said Ennis. But according to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care (WPATH), the world’s leading transgender healthcare association, their own guidelines recommend “one year of testosterone treatment” and a mental health professional’s letter of support, in order for a 15 year old — like Cole at the time — to obtain a double mastectomy surgery.  

Ennis lacks a medical license but asserts that endocrinologists do not generally prescribe puberty blockers and testosterone at the same time.

“Still others have doubted her account because of medical inconsistencies in her treatment and subsequent health conditions,” said Ennis. “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.” 

Endocrinologist Dr. Mike Laidlaw supports the testimony of Cole, who said her doctor did not follow the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care.

My experience in reviewing transitions and detransitions is that the clinicians and other healthcare providers involved in medical care often do not follow even WPATH’s ill-conceived guidelines,” Laidlaw said. “Some of these doctors follow their own recipes and provide puberty blockers at the same time as testosterone. These gender quacks don’t understand basic endocrine physiology and prescribe whatever toxic concoctions they dream up. Unfortunately young people like Chloe pay a heavy price for this experimentation on our youth.”

Ennis capped the article by accusing Cole and other detransitioners of causing “deliberate harm to trans and nonbinary youth,” but did not provide any supporting evidence to substantiate that claim.

Ennis, who previously went by Don, made headlines in 2013 after transitioning, detransitioning, and then re-transitioning while working as a night-time editor at ABC News. The “paunchy, balding father of three” as the New York Post described him, publicly announced on Facebook in May of 2013, at age 49, that he was leaving his wife of 17 years to become a full-time woman, and would assume the name “Dawn.” Ennis reportedly later posted a memo on the newsroom bulletin board which read: I accused my wife of playing some kind of cruel joke, dressing me up in a wig and bra and making fake ID’s with the name ‘Dawn’ on it. Seriously.”

Ennis claimed the gender flip-flopping was due to “transient global amnesia,” and at the time, in 2013, believed it was the year 1999. ABC News later fired Ennis for “performance related issues.”

Reached by The Daily Wire, Ennis declined to answer specific questions, but claimed to be working on a follow-up article for Forbes.

Cole said her focus is on protecting confused adolescents and children from radical gender theory and what advocates call “gender-affirming care.” Ennis, she said, is not someone that community should heed.

“Although I do respect Dawn for at least reaching out to me before my hit piece, her past does call into question her judgment,” Cole told The Daily Wire. “She probably shouldn’t be regarded as a credible voice for medical transition in youth.”

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