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Detransitioner Sues Doctors for Fraud, Medical Malpractice

Rising numbers of detransitioners are calling our culture’s denial of basic biology into question.
Christiana Kiefer
A doctor takes notes as he meets with an adolescent patient

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is supposed to be in the business of improving health care for children across the nation. According to its constitution, AAP is “dedicated to the principle of a meaningful and healthy life for every child.”

But one 21-year-old woman is coming forward to say that the AAP helped push her down a path of destruction.

In a lawsuit filed in October, Isabelle Ayala charged the association with civil conspiracy, fraud, and medical malpractice relating to its 2018 policy statement endorsing the “affirmative model” for gender dysphoria.

Insufficient evidence

Isabelle had a history of several mental health complications including ADHD, autism, depression, anxiety, and PTSD from being sexually assaulted at a young age. She then began struggling with gender dysphoria, and she said she wanted to become a boy. So she went to see Dr. Jason Rafferty—who would later be responsible for authoring the AAP policy statement—in 2017.

According to the lawsuit, Rafferty and other doctors applied an “immediate, no questions-asked” treatment model of “quickly placing [her] on a conveyor belt of life-altering puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or experimental surgeries.”

In Isabelle’s case, Dr. Rafferty recommended cross-sex hormones after just one visit. Her mother initially objected, but Dr. Rafferty and his team told her that Isabelle would commit suicide if she was not allowed to take cross-sex hormones.

The lawsuit alleges Dr. Rafferty and his team lied to Isabelle and her parents by suggesting that cross-sex hormonal treatment was the only scientifically accepted treatment for gender dysphoria.

“These outright misrepresentations, of course, were entirely consistent with and indeed a byproduct of the fraudulent [AAP] Gender Policy Statement Dr. Rafferty (and other Defendants) had been working on for the better [part] of a year at this point,” the lawsuit says.

Isabelle also alleges that Rafferty and others learned during their research that the “affirmative model” was not supported by scientific research but published the policy anyway to advance gender ideology. She was a test subject—an unsuspecting guinea pig—for the “radical new approach” of Dr. Rafferty and others.

Irreversible consequences

Contrary to Dr. Rafferty’s assertion, taking cross-sex hormones did not magically fix Isabelle’s mental condition. She attempted suicide about eight months after she started taking the drugs.

Thankfully, Isabelle ultimately made the decision to detransition and embrace her female biology. But even today, she deals with consequences from her time on testosterone, including compromised bone structure, unwanted facial and body hair, permanent changes to her voice, and ongoing anxiety, depression, and regret. It is still unknown whether her ability to have children has been permanently damaged.

Isabelle’s story is not an isolated incident, but one among many similar stories. Chloe Cole, another young woman who has detransitioned, now must live with the physical consequences of both cross-sex hormones and a double mastectomy she underwent at just 15 years old.

“We need to stop telling 12-year-olds that they were born wrong, that they are right to reject their own bodies and feel uncomfortable with their own skin,” Chloe said in a July 2023 speech before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government. “We need to stop telling children that puberty is an option. That they can choose what kind of puberty they will go through just [like] they can choose what clothes to wear or music to listen to.”

Chloe said her parents first put her on cross-sex hormones at the age of 13 after a doctor threatened, “Would you rather have a dead daughter or a living transgender son?” Even though she has detransitioned, she said she “had a huge part of my future womanhood taken from me.”

“It’s caused permanent changes to my body,” Chloe said. “My voice will forever be deeper, my jawline sharper, my nose longer, my bone structure permanently masculinized, my Adam’s apple more prominent.”

Truth provides hope

Isabelle, Chloe, and many other detransitioners may never be able to fully reverse the physical and mental toll of surgeries and cross-sex hormones. But their bravery and honesty provide hope for the future.

It takes courage for these women to stand up and share their stories, especially when powerful organizations like the AAP and the establishment media are pushing the lie that cross-sex hormones and irreversible surgeries are the roads to health and happiness. By speaking up, people like Chloe and Isabelle can help prevent other impressionable young women and men from falling victim to these lies.

As Christians, we understand that God created each person either male or female. These facts cannot be changed, and any attempt to do so will ultimately lead to more pain and suffering. That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom is committed to protecting children from being ushered toward life-altering surgeries and cross-sex hormones that can sterilize them, but can never actually turn them into the opposite sex.

The rising number of detransitioners is living proof that our culture’s assertion that sex and gender can be changed on a whim is simply false. God created each and every one of us, male or female, for a purpose. By learning from the stories of Isabelle, Chloe, and many others like them, we can help protect children from being subjected to damaging, life-altering experiments before they come to regret it.

Christiana Holcomb
Christiana Kiefer
Senior Counsel
Christiana (Holcomb) Kiefer serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a key member of the Center for Conscience Initiatives.