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Five adults who formerly identified as transgender and sought medical transition services argue the process was “mutilation.”
A new documentary from The Daily Caller, “Damaged: The Transing of America’s Kids,” features the stories of five detransitioners who were harmed by sex reassignment hormones and surgeries. The 56-minute film includes commentary from a gender-affirming doctor and a renowned expert on transsexualism.
“This documentary details the abuse that minors and adults suffered at the hands of a medical establishment that seemingly couldn’t care less about the outcomes of these people so long as their pockets are adequately lined,” said Chrissy Clark, a journalist for The Daily Caller who conducted the interviews and produced the film.
“‘Damaged’ gives an insight into stories that are suppressed and underreported by mainstream news outlets,” Clark added.
“Damaged” follows the stories of Chloe Cole, who chemically and surgically transitioned as a teenager; Abel Garcia, Cat Cattinson, and Xandra, who sought medical transition services in early adulthood; and Walt Heyer, a man who spent much of the 1980s living as a transgender woman.
Abel Garcia, 25, was introduced to gender ideology through YouTube, which made him question whether he was male or female. Garcia felt that he didn’t measure up to other boys growing up, and he noted the added pressure of the “machismo” culture of his Mexican heritage contributed to his belief that he might be transgender.
At 19, during his first appointment with a gender therapist, Garcia was “affirmed” as a transgender woman and provided with a letter of support to seek medical interventions. He spent several years taking estrogen and presenting as a woman, which ultimately led to him obtaining breast augmentation surgery.
Garcia said he realized he made a mistake just three months following his breast implant procedure and recounted that when he told his therapist he planned to detransition, she tried to talk him out of it. Now he suffers from urinary tract problems and genital atrophy as a result of hormone therapy.
Xandra, now 31, decided to transition when she was 18 years old after she was introduced to gender ideology through YouTube influencers. As a lesbian, she thought she would be happier living as a boy and was prescribed testosterone without ever seeing a therapist.
“I wish the doctor had stopped me, I wish they had required therapy – because I need a lot of it,” admitted Xandra, who opened up about being sexually assaulted by a teenage relative when she was 4 years old. Now married to her spouse Sara, the two plan to homeschool their future children out of concern that activist teachers may try to indoctrinate them.
Walt Heyer, who spent eight years living as a transgender woman in the 1980s, has authored several books and articles about his experience detransitioning and now coaches people through the detransition process. Heyer believes that unresolved issues like childhood trauma and sexual abuse may lead some people to want to change genders. His own experience being sexually molested by a non-blood relative when he was a child led to his realization that he was not a woman, but was simply trying to escape his male identity.
Heyer said that the current “affirmative” model of care is “medical malpractice” and “child abuse.” He believes that if people struggling with gender distress seek therapy that does not “affirm” their chosen trans-identity, but instead helps them understand why they feel the way they do, they will no longer reject their bodies. The widespread adoption of transgender identities has less to do with gender and more to do with a “broken identity,” he explained.
Heyer revealed that 70-80% of the clients he coaches show traits of autogynephilia, a paraphilic disorder in which a male becomes sexually aroused by the thought of himself as a female. “So it’s a sexual arousal disorder, it’s not transgenderism,” said Heyer.
Chloe Cole was 11 when she was introduced to gender ideology on social media, which led to her self-identification as a transgender boy at 12 years old. She was 13 when she was prescribed puberty blockers and testosterone, and received a double mastectomy to remove her breasts at 15, all at the behest of “gender affirming” medical professionals.
Cole said it was a psychology and child development course she took when she was 16 that caused her to realize she regretted her transition.
“I had a lesson on maternal bonding and that was the first time I really thought about being a parent and what that might look like for me,” said Cole. “There was a big emphasis on breastfeeding, not only as the means of feeding your child but it’s also the way mothers bond with their children. After finding this out, I felt like a monster. I felt like I took something away from my future children, and I knew I would never be able to get that back. It shook me.”
She now experiences complications from the double mastectomy and is concerned she may not be able to have children. When she reached out to her surgeon, Cole said he was dismissive of her and gave her advice that seemed to worsen the complications.
“That was one of my many experiences with a doctor or a therapist that has made me lose all my trust in my healthcare providers,” said Cole. In November 2022, she submitted a letter of intent to sue Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, the hospital that facilitated her medical transition.
“If I were to go back in time to speak to the girl that I was, I would say ‘Just wait. I know it sucks but it only gets better from here. This distress is not forever,’” Cole reflected.
Cat Cattinson was introduced to gender ideology when she was 13 and is grateful now that her parents did not affirm her male transgender identity at the time. When she was 17, her parents took her to a gender therapist thinking it would help resolve her distress, but instead the therapist “affirmed” her trans-identity on the first appointment.
Cattinson was 28 when she followed through with medical transition, and she said she received a prescription for testosterone from Planned Parenthood after just a 30-minute phone call — without a blood test or mental health assessment. Cattinson said she had scheduled a double mastectomy surgery, but changed her mind after experiencing complications from testosterone, which included liver and gallbladder damage, heart palpitations, incontinence, and a permanent change to her voice.
“Almost none of this was brought up as potential side effects,” said Cattinson. “Taking high amounts of cross-sex hormones is a lot riskier for your health than just any other psychiatric medication.”
Dr. Joshua Safer, the executive director of Mt. Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery and longtime proponent of the “gender-affirming” model of care, made an appearance in the documentary. Safer co-authored guidelines recommending chemical and surgical sex change services for minors for the Endocrine Society in 2017, which rated its own evidence in support of medical transition as “very low.”
Safer said that new patients are “taken at their word” and provided with the puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and gender-related surgeries that they seek.
“We take you at your word, if you come and you tell us that you are transgender and there’s nothing else going on, most people who come and tell us that they understand ‘gender identity’ and they are transgender and they are looking for treatment, that is really true and we go with that,” explained Safer.
Safer said that mental health issues being mistaken for gender dysphoria is “mostly not a thing” – at least not that he’s encountered. He is a proponent of the theory of “brain sex,” a belief that transgender people possess regions of the brain that resemble their “gender identity.” As a group of neuroscientists has explained, studies on the “transgender brain” failed to account for important confounding variables, such as sexuality, rendering the results unreliable.
Dr. Stephen B. Levine, a psychiatrist who has spent his career studying human sexuality and transsexuals, was able to lend his expertise in the documentary. He explained the “tsunami” of teenage girls who have adopted a transgender identity can best be explained by social contagion.
All five detransitioners interviewed were introduced to gender ideology through some form of social contagion, which caused them to begin questioning their own gender. Additionally, Cole, Cattinson, and Garcia believe they may have undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism without an intellectual impairment. When asked, they all agreed that fast-tracking children and young adults into chemical and surgical sex change procedures without proper mental health assessment is a form of “mutilation.”
“Part of the definition of mutilation is destroying the function of a body part and that’s exactly what we’re doing with these surgeries, we’re removing healthy body parts and destroying their function,” said Cattinson.
“They removed my organs,” said Cole. “Perfectly healthy functioning organs and that is mutilation.”
“Damaged” is now available to stream on The Daily Caller website.