A Montana couple is grappling with the consequences of a family dispute over their daughter’s expressed desire to transition gender after Child Protective Services (CPS) intervened, a case that mirrors similar incidents across the nation.
In August 2023, the daughter of Krista and Todd Kolstad, identified as Jennifer, allegedly confided to peers about having suicidal thoughts, prompting immediate involvement from CPS. Following a home inspection and conversation with Jennifer, CPS concluded that a gender transition was necessary for her wellbeing—an assessment the Kolstads disagreed with, which led to the forfeiture of their custodial rights.
Krista, Jennifer’s stepmother, conveyed the devastating impact on the family, stating that even if Jennifer were returned, the family dynamic has been irrevocably altered due to the events. She cites the development of animosity from Jennifer towards her parents and asserts that their daughter’s troubling behavior and mental health concerns have been dismissed by authorities.
Todd Kolstad emphasizes his unconditional love for his daughter and his desire for her to make such life-altering decisions with greater maturity and an understanding of the long-term implications.
The case unfolds against the backdrop of a similar scenario in Indiana, where Jeremy and Mary Cox lost custody of their son after objecting on religious grounds to their child’s transition. The matter has reached the US Supreme Court for consideration. Supporting the Cox family is Abigail Martinez from California, who similarly lost custody of her daughter. Her child later died by suicide after beginning testosterone therapy.
Jennifer’s upbringing was marred by adverse experiences, including an absent birth mother accused of abuse and neglect and severe bullying which prompted the Kolstads to change school districts for a new start.