A Montana mother and father who lost custody of their daughter after refusing to change her gender told DailyMail.com that the ordeal “has torn their family apart.”
Krista Kolstad revealed that the family’s nightmare began when they received a call that her 14-year-old daughter Jennifer (name changed) had told her friends at school that she wanted to commit suicide in August 2023.
Later that night, Child Protective Services (CPS) went to the Kolstad home in Glasgow to inspect it and interview Jennifer, and then determined that she needed to transition for the better.
Krista, Jennifer’s stepmother and the girl’s biological father, Todd Kolstad, said Jennifer had a difficult upbringing and several undiagnosed mental health issues, including attention-seeking behavior and lying, which they believe caused the need to do so. transition and who were overlooked by social services.
Krista told DailyMail.com: ‘It’s been horrible… Our family unit will never be the same. Even if they gave our daughter back to us now, they are not going to have the same family unit…it has created a lot of animosity on Jennifer’s part towards us, she doesn’t believe she has to listen to us as her parents. not anymore.’
Kolstad said, “I love my daughter unconditionally and I just want her to refrain from making decisions until she has the maturity and life experiences to understand what the consequences of her actions are.”
Jennifer with her stepmother Krista (left) before any social transition occurred. Jennifer (right) after medical staff allowed her to socially transition, against her parents’ wishes.
Jennifer photographed with her parents Todd and Krista Kolstad
It comes as a family in Indiana has asked the US Supreme Court to review their loss of custody case. Jeremy and Mary Cox, who are evangelical Christians, lost custody of their son in June 2021 after they refused, for religious reasons, to let her begin identifying as a girl.
California mother Abigail Martinez filed a document offering support to Mr. and Mrs. Cox. Martinez lost custody of her teenage daughter, Yaeli, in 2016, who was administered testosterone and then committed suicide.
The Kolstads said Jennifer had a traumatic upbringing. Her biological mother left when she was young and was only present sporadically.
Statements from Jennifer and her sister’s counselor showed that the girls described their biological mother as uncaring, abusive and “crazy.”
Jennifer has also been repeatedly bullied at school. Mr. and Mrs. Kolstad even moved districts to try to give their daughter a fresh start at a new school.
“She always wanted to be the super pretty, super popular girl, and who doesn’t?” Krista said. “But she’s always been the crazy, smart girl who was in the math club.”
When Children and Family Services arrived at the family home, the family allowed the caseworker to inspect their home and talk to their daughter alone, but warned her that she had a history of making up stories.
During the interview, Jennifer claimed to have drunk toilet bowl cleaner and overdosed on painkillers in a suicide attempt.
Jennifer (left) photographed with her parents Todd and Krista Kolstad and her sister.
Jennifer with her stepmother Krista, who has raised her since she was seven years old.
Her parents said this seemed highly unlikely because Mrs. Kolstad had been working at home all day and Jennifer did not have access to any of the substances and had not shown any symptoms of illness.
Despite their misgivings, Mr. and Mrs. Kolstad agreed to take Jennifer to the local hospital to be examined.
Blood tests confirmed that Jennifer had not consumed any toxic substances, according to medical documentation reviewed by Reduxx.
But the medical notes mentioned that Jennifer identified as male and wanted to be called Leo.
‘Our daughter began to demand that her name be Leo, him and him. We explained to her that this is in her history but it is not something we would accept as her parents. “The hospital staff ignored our request,” said Mr. Kolstad.
Jennifer had first expressed her desire to change gender to her parents when she was 13 years old.
Her parents told her she was too young to make that decision and sent her to therapy to explore why she felt that way.
Mrs Kolstad said: “It wasn’t new, but I hadn’t mentioned it in a year.” She never came to us and said, “You have to call me that, you have to call me that.” “That was never a problem.”
Mr. and Mrs. Kolstad, who are Christians, told hospital staff of their objections and asked that Jennifer be called by her birth name.
‘The hospital continued to call our daughter Leo, even though she is a minor and after I said it was against our wishes, our religion and our core family values.
“The hospital told me to call their lawyer if I have any problems, because they will do what the patient tells them,” Ms. Kolstad said.
While medical transition of minors is prohibited in Montana, Ms. Kolstad said the hospital told her that “social transition” was a “gray area of the law.”
Jennifer was placed under 24-hour supervision due to her suicide threats, but Mrs Kolstad said they placed an assistant outside her door who regularly spoke to Jennifer about the top surgery and how she was non-binary.
Together with CPS, Mr. and Mrs. Kolstad agreed that Jennifer would benefit from specialized treatment and counseling as an inpatient in a mental health hospital.
There were six facilities in Montana, plus one in Wyoming. Mr. and Mrs. Kolstad expressed concern about Wyoming, as the state allows minors to receive gender-affirming care, such as hormone blockers and surgical procedures.
They were worried that this could happen without their consent.
But just a few hours later, Mr. and Mrs. Kolstad were informed that a bed was available at the Wyoming Behavioral Institute and that Jennifer had to leave immediately.
They said they reiterated their concerns and said they had questions they needed to answer before accepting.
Ten minutes later, CPS showed up at Kolstad’s home with police and paperwork removing her daughter from her care, accusing them of refusing treatment.
While Jennifer was in Wyoming, she was given men’s hygiene products, such as body wash and deodorant.
After a month at the Wyoming facility, Jennifer was moved to a Youth Dynamics group home in Montana, where she has remained ever since.
Here, Jennifer has been allowed to wear a chest binder along with only men’s clothing, shave her head, and attend all-boys groups.
The Kolstads were assigned a public defender, who advised them to “play nice” and follow CPS recommendations.
“We have followed their advice for the past few months and now our rights are being completely stripped away,” Ms Kolstad said.
Jeremy and Mary Cox, from Indiana, have also lost custody of their daughter
On Jan. 19, the couple lost custody of their daughter to CPS, who said allowing Jennifer to be transgender is “in their therapeutic interest” and that her parents “are not following recommended therapy.”
CPS was awarded custody of Jennifer for six months. After that, the plan is to leave Jennifer in the care of her biological mother, who now lives in Canada but has never really been a part of her life.
Mr. and Mrs. Kolstad have decided to defy a judge’s order to remain silent about the case.
They were due to appear in court yesterday to answer the contempt of court charges and hear Jennifer’s proposed future treatment plan, but the hearing was delayed because Ms. Kolstad’s father, very ill in Ohio, needed care. .
CPS in Glasgow, Montana, told DailyMail.com it had no comment to make.
Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Cox, another couple who lost custody of their son, saw their son taken from their home after the Indiana Department of Child Services warned a county court that the teenager was in physical and emotional danger.
According to court records, her son had developed an eating disorder and was at risk of self-harm.
A county judge ordered him placed in a foster home that supported the teen’s chosen gender identity and prohibited the Coxes from discussing their faith with their teens during visits.
The Indiana Court of Appeals admitted that a disagreement between parents and children generally does not justify the child’s expulsion, but said this was an “extreme case.”
Their son is now a legal adult and cannot be forced to return home, but the Coxes said they are worried their other children will suffer the same fate.