Montana Couple Fears State Took Daughter To Wyoming For Gender Transition

A Montana couple is claiming their state’s child protection agency seized their daughter, who was suicidal and wanting to live as a boy, and placed her in a Wyoming facility, where there are no laws banning gender treatments for kids.  

CM
Clair McFarland

January 30, 20246 min read

Krista and Todd Kolstad
Krista and Todd Kolstad (Via Facebook)

A Glasgow, Montana, couple is accusing their state’s child protective agency of taking their daughter away to Wyoming after the child began to identify as a boy.

There are no restrictions on gender-change treatments for children in Wyoming, although a pair of bills that would have done that failed in last year's legislative session.

The girl’s parents, Krista and Todd Kolstad, spoke with feminist news outlet Reduxx in a Monday story, saying their 14-year-old daughter started expressing suicidal ideations at school in 2023.

The story details the parents’ efforts to get their daughter into a kinder school district and work with Montana Child and Family Services (CFS).

The parents agreed to take their daughter to a hospital for emergency care, and while they were there, hospital staff reportedly refused to listen to the parents’ qualms about treating the child as a boy instead of as a girl.

In future communications with CFS, the Kolstads agreed their child would benefit from residential care and counseling, but the agency posited the idea of taking the girl to a facility in Wyoming.

This worried the parents, who researched and discovered Wyoming doesn’t have laws banning sex-transition treatments for minors, Reduxx reported.

The agency reportedly moved the girl to Wyoming for a while, and the parents told Reduxx the girl is now going to live with her previously uninvolved birth mother in Canada, and that they can’t have her back in their care.

“We were told that letting (her) transition and live as a boy was in her ‘therapeutic best interest,’ and because we aren’t willing to follow that recommendation, the court gave CFS custody of (her) for six months,” Krista Kolstad told Reduxx.

Krista and Todd Kolstad did not respond by publication time to Cowboy State Daily requests for comment.

A Little Bit Of Law

Reduxx reported that when the girl was headed to Wyoming, sex-change treatments for kids were illegal in Montana.

The state banned those treatments in April 2023, but the ban didn't last - a court blocked its enforcement in September during a case against it.  

Wyoming, meanwhile, has not outlawed transgender treatments for kids, though female genital mutilation is illegal under the state’s assault statutes.

A legislative bill called Chloe’s Law failed in the Wyoming Legislature in 2023. It would have banned cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers and sex-change surgeries for minors.

This year, a handful of Republican legislators are proposing House Bill 63, which would ban sex-change surgeries, including mastectomies, for minors, but would not ban cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers.

Governor Says Court Followed State Law

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte posted a statement to his X.com account after the Reduxx story broke, saying the court and the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) both followed state policy and law in handling the case.

He said he’s asked Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras — “an experienced attorney, constitutional conservative, mother and grandmother” — to continue monitoring the case as it progresses.

It is unclear what role, if any, the Wyoming Department of Family Services has in this story. Wyoming DFS Director Korin Schmidt did not immediately respond to a Cowboy State Daily request for comment. 

A Word From Montana’s Transgender Rep.

Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a transgender delegate from Missoula to the Montana House of Representatives, posted to X.com that “many of us are monitoring the case” along with Gianforte, but the child’s fate is not Gianforte’s decision.

“This was a court-ordered removal, and my understanding is that the governor does not have a say in the courts determining if a home is safe for a child,” wrote Zephyr, adding that, “The family appears to have broken a gag order.”

Gag Order?

Krista Kolstad indicated on her Facebook page that she and Todd are indeed under a gag order.

She posted to her Facebook page Jan. 19 that they were ordered to take down an informational video they posted to YouTube.

“The system does not want it made public that it’s broken and continues to violate parents’ rights,” wrote Krista Kolstad. “We need to stand together as families and as a community to protect our family units.”

This In From Wyoming Social Conservatives

There are two main Republican caucuses in Wyoming’s Legislature: The Wyoming Freedom Caucus, which oftener proposes legislation to advance socially conservative values, and the Wyoming Caucus, which has carried a more libertarian approach to social issues while also professing fiscal conservativism.

The Wyoming Freedom Caucus published a Tuesday statement on the Kolstads’ case, saying the caucus is “saddened” by it.

“We are sickened by reports that the child was sent to Wyoming to receive these treatments,” says the statement. It accuses “uniparty” actors of blocking two measures that would have made “chemical abuse” — puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones — illegal last year.

The House Appropriations Committee voted down Chloe’s law last year. However, Freedom Caucus-affiliated House leadership passed over a chance to revive Chloe’s law on the House floor after the down-vote.

Delegates from both sides of the Republican divide blamed each other for the bill’s failure.

Here Comes This Bill

The Freedom Caucus’ statement blasts the now-proposed House Bill 63 as an effort by Wyoming Caucus-aligned lawmakers to “save face,” but calls the bill inadequate because it would not ban cross-sex hormones or puberty blockers as it is now written.

Rep. Clark Stith, R-Rock Springs, is a co-sponsor on the new HB 63 and he was also one of two House Appropriations Committee members who voted last year, in the minority, to advance Chloe’s Law to the House floor.

He acknowledged that HB 68 doesn’t tackle chemical transition in kids, but said he expects amendments to it may.

“I’m sure there will be a robust debate about that, if it survives introduction, which I think it should,” Stith told Cowboy State Daily.

Non-budget bills require a two-thirds approval vote to reach a chamber floor during the legislative sessions of the even-numbered years, which are centered around the state’s budget.

No Word Of Surgeries

Sheila Bush, executive director of the Wyoming Medical Society, a lobby group of doctors, told Cowboy State Daily last week that her group has not found any doctors performing sex-change surgeries on minors.

Her organization searched through state medical coding records and found no evidence that a transgender surgery has ever happened in Wyoming, Bush said. She added that's likely because an extensive sub-specialty team is needed to perform these operations, which also doesn’t exist in Wyoming.

Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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CM

Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter