". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


From Woodstock to Bostock: Chloe Cole, Walt Heyer, and David Closson Discuss Roots of Gender Ideology

March 24, 2023

On a recent panel at Family Policy Alliance’s SoConCon Social Conservative Policy Conference, Family Research Council hosted a discussion between detransitioners Chloe Cole and Walt Heyer as well as FRC’s director of the Center for Biblical Worldview, David Closson. The panel, titled “From Woodstock to Bostock: Is the Sexual Revolution Derailing?” centered on the roots of gender ideology — both in the culture due to the influence of the sexual revolution and in the personal lives of those taken in by gender ideology.

In her introduction, Chloe explained a bit about her story, saying, “I started transitioning by changing my name in a presentation, cutting my hair shorter, and buying more boys’ clothing. It took a while, but I came out to my parents through a letter, and they weren’t pushing me into transition — in fact, they actually didn’t want me to make any permanent decisions until I hit the age of 18.” She added, “They were given the suicide statistics and told if you don’t let your daughter transition then she might kill herself. They were given the ultimatum of ‘Would you rather have a dead daughter or a live son?’”

Chloe added that social media “might have been the biggest influence” over her motivation to transition. “A lot of the users in [my online communities] identified as LGBT — especially trans or nonbinary. It started to pique my interest — I starting seeing posts on Instagram that were recommended just from LGBT-centered accounts, and especially of tween girls to women in their 20s who ran accounts with little infographics and information on transitioning. … I was at an age where I started thinking about what is my role in the world, and I started wondering, ‘How does this relate to me? What’s my sexuality? What’s my gender identity?’”

Likewise, Walt shared how his history of childhood trauma motivated him to publicly live as a woman. He explained, “If someone were to dig into my childhood history, they would find out that I was actually trying to find a way to be accepted, and my grandmother offered the dress and I put the dress on and I thought, ‘Well, if Mom doesn’t like me as a boy, maybe she’ll like me as a girl.’ So, it had nothing to do with gender, nothing to do with anything except trying to be accepted by a mother who hated my guts.”

Walt continued. “When I went into the gender therapist … I was somewhat intoxicated when I went in there, dressed as Laura, and I told them about my history of being sexually abused as a child, physically abused by my mother and father, and cross-dressing since I was four. I gave them my history and he said, ‘Oh, you have gender dysphoria, and you need hormone therapy. I’ll give you the name of the doctor across the way where you can get your hormones. Come back next week and I’ll have a letter for you so you can get your surgery.” 

Chloe also affirmed that professionals who pushed gender ideology in her life failed to explore why her gender dysphoria originated in the first place. She shared, “The therapists and gender specialists decided that it was a fact that I was a boy. They never really looked into what might be contributing to my gender dysphoria.” Chloe went on to explain, “I think one of the biggest factors was that I started puberty early at around eight or nine, and it was just really overwhelming for me to have my body growing faster than my mind … to hear the comments on my body — especially my chest — from other students, both boys and girls, and from adults sometimes.”

Walt stated that, from his perspective, “Things are really not that much different today” when it comes to “gender specialists” pushing gender transition rather than helping patients heal from original trauma. He observed, “That’s kind of where we are today — it’s very easy. The clinics give out the hormones easily, you get your letters easily, so I think from a standpoint of the affirmation and the process really nothing has changed.”

David Closson highlighted the role that the sexual revolution has played in bringing about the cultural changes that have facilitated the rise of gender clinics. “The big lesson of the sexual revolution was the idea that our bodies are our own, and our bodies are not as important as our minds — so if our minds and bodies conflict, then our minds win out,” he explained. “So just over the last 40 years we’ve seen things like the pill, we’ve seen things like Supreme Court decisions liberalizing sexual ethics; I think all of these are kind of in the stream where we find ourselves.”

Toward the end of the conversation, Chloe emphasized the importance of rejecting “pronoun hospitality,” or using the preferred pronouns of transgender-identified individuals with the goal of showing compassion. She argued, “Personally, I consider it a form of abuse to lie to child that they have capabilities that they don’t, such as becoming the opposite sex. But while it’s important to establish reality and boundaries, they also need to know that they’re loved — that’s often the first step.”