By Clair McFarland, General Assignment Reporter
A proposed Wyoming law surfaced Friday that would forbid insurers from covering sex-change treatments for children and ban doctors from performing them.
Sponsored by state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, Senate File 144, aka “Chloe’s Law,” is named after detransitioner and activist Chloe Cole.
Cole is a female who started taking cross-sex hormones at age 13 and had her breasts removed when she was 15 in an effort to transition to being a boy.
Cole, now 18, has since detransitioned, or reverted back to presenting as a woman, voicing deep regret for her double mastectomy and other changes from her teenhood.
Senate File 144 specifically targets doctors, making their licenses revokable if they administer sex change treatments – including surgeries, cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers – to minors.
Doctors Should Know Better
Bouchard said the focus on doctors reflects one of Cole’s main concerns: that the medical community fast-tracked her into transitioning genders despite her also having autism and ADHD.
“If you take Chloe’s case and a lot of cases like hers, whether it was a school or a doctor, they convinced the parents that it had to be done,” said Bouchard. “Chloe doesn’t want to make criminals out of her parents.”
Bouchard said his bill hones in on medical conduct standards to address what he sees as a decline in the industry.
Still, said Bouchard, he supports and will vote yes on another Wyoming bill prohibiting child sex-change treatments, Senate File 111, which would make administering or performing such treatments felony child abuse in Wyoming.
Bouchard said he believes the bills can work together.
Majority Desist By Puberty
Bouchard said the law does not regulate adults who wish to transition, only children.
He discussed a group of 11 long-term studies on gender dysphoric children which together concluded that between 60% and 90% of gender dysphoric children desist by puberty if allowed to mature without gender medical interventions.
One 2008 study held that figure as high as 80%-95%
The Treatment of Adolescent Transsexuals: Changing Insights (umich.edu)
“The best thing is to do no harm while they’re treating them,” Bouchard said.
He said that teenagers often are led by temporary feelings and shouldn’t be allowed to alter their bodies permanently based on those.
The bill contains exemptions for surgeries for intersex children. It also would not forbid circumcision, as the text only targets treatments intended to transition a child’s sex.
Cole An ‘Outlier’
When Bouchard announced the introduction of Chloe’s Law on Twitter, he received both praise and backlash.
Cole responded to Bouchard’s tweet.
“Thank you, Senator,” said Cole. “I will support this bill in any way I can. WY needs to be a state in which children can thrive without experiencing the horrors I have.”
Laramie-based Substack writer Jeff Victor countered, saying that he does not want to undermine Cole’s struggles, but that she is an “extreme EXTREME outlier” not representative of transgender kids generally.
“Mastectomies are safe procedures and lead to better quality of life,” wrote Victor, adding that nearly half of all transgender kids contemplate or attempt suicide.
Victor linked to thetrevorproject.org, which compiled online surveys of LGBTQ youth following social media target-ad recruitment. Part of the survey, the site says, demonstrated that LGBTQ youth who live in a community accepting of LGBTQ people reported significantly lower rates of attempting suicide than those who do not.
“These are just facts and they don’t care about Bouchard’s feelings,” Victor wrote.
‘Let’s Just Scare Everybody To Death’
In speaking with Cowboy State Daily, Bouchard countered, saying the suicide argument uses false logic.
“They’re using a scare tactic and that’s what (people have) done to some of these parents,” he said, adding that some parents are told that if their child does not medically transition to a different gender, the child will commit suicide. “We didn’t have this problem years ago; this is rather new in the big picture of, ‘let’s just scare everybody to death.’”