JK Rowling facing fierce backlash, yet again, for ‘dangerous’ comments comparing trans healthcare to gay conversion therapy
JK Rowling weathered intense criticism – again – for maintaining her view on trans people even amid widespread rebuttals from LGBT+ activists, human rights advocacy groups and health professionals.
The British author behind the beloved Harry Potter series issued a winding statement on Sunday evening (5 July) that compared the denounced practice of conversion therapy to the steadily eroded access trans youth have to healthcare.
Criticism brewing around the 54-year-old liking a tweet that called “hormone prescriptions” the “new antidepressants” that morning reached fever pitch hours later when she launched into the 11-tweet-long thread.
Who had money on JK Rowling pivoting to supporting those who call people who take mental health medication "lazy"?
I take daily medication to function, this sentiment is beyond offensive, it is actively harmful to millions. pic.twitter.com/7UOgBx0ZLX
— Ŧરίʂƚαŋ writes (@TrinerScot) July 4, 2020
Harry Potter author criticised for commenting on trans people. Again.
Appearing stung by critics, the fiction writer disputed to her 14.4 million followers the “lies” that have emerged in the weeks that have followed since Rowling went from a stoop-sitter to full-on vocal commentator on the topic of trans lives.
Many in her circles, from Harry Potter movie stars to her corporate partners and authors at her writing agency have all distanced themselves from her as a result.
When you lie about what I believe about mental health medication and when you misrepresent the views of a trans woman for whom I feel nothing but admiration and solidarity, you cross a line. 2/11— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 5, 2020
JK Rowling noted that she has taken anti-depressants in the past, before saying: “Many health professionals are concerned that young people struggling with their mental health are being shunted towards hormones and surgery when this may not be in their best interests.”
Countless studies by medical institutions have dubbed the healthcare options available for trans youths, such as puberty-blockers, as “life-saving”.
Puberty-pausing medication, known as puberty blockers, delay puberty until a young trans person is old enough to make decisions about having gender-affirming medical treatment, for example, hormone therapy or surgery.
Puberty blockers can also temporarily prevent the development of secondary sexual characteristics (like an Adam’s apple or facial hair), which means that trans teenagers can potentially avoid some gender-affirming surgeries later in life.
In the UK, the medication is prescribed to trans teens by specialist gender doctors at the NHS’s only gender clinic for under 18s, the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the NHS’s Tavistock and Portman Trust in London. The age at which trans kids can be given puberty blockers was lowered from 16 to around 11 in 2011, after nearly a decade of consultation with international experts.
Rowling continued: “Many, myself included, believe we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people, who are being set on a lifelong path of medicalisation that may result in the loss of their fertility and/or full sexual function.”
Many, myself included, believe we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people, who are being set on a lifelong path of medicalisation that may result in the loss of their fertility and/or full sexual function. 5/11— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 5, 2020
She then referenced a BBC Newsnight documentary on the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the only NHS gender clinic for trans youth, as well as a news item that takes aim at, again, healthcare options for trans youth. Both alluded to detransitioners.
The word is used for people who undergo some form of transition associated with being transgender – be that socially, like changing their physical appearance and pronouns, or medical intervention, like hormone treatment or gender affirmation surgery – but later return to identifying as the gender they were assigned at birth. Multiple studies have found that less than one per cent of people who transition gender later regret it and detransition.
“None of that may trouble you or disturb your belief in your own righteousness,” she concluded. “But if so, I can’t pretend I care much about your bad opinion of me.”
JK Rowling flanked for comparing trans youth healthcare to conversion therapy: ‘There is so much misinformation and disinformation in this thread.’
Rowling’s comments drew immediate mass criticism online. Many detractors, from notable queer celebrities such as Jameela Jamil, healthcare providers and actual trans people who have a lived experience of what Rowling is discussing, accused the author of misinformation, many linking medical journals and interviews with medical experts that disputed her take.
Anyone starting hormone therapy is warned, at least in the UK, ad nauseum about the potential risks that the medications may bring about.
People can make up their own minds about what medication is right for them, having weighed up pros and cons. Surely we all deserve autonomy? https://t.co/343sccKwA8— Gendered Intelligence (@Genderintell) July 5, 2020
You are not a doctor. You are not a therapist. You are not a trans person. You are not the parent of a trans child. As far as I know, you have no personal or professional skin in this game. Please stop concern trolling. You’re actively harming an already marginalized community,
— Amanda Jetté Knox (@MavenOfMayhem) July 5, 2020
Thank you so much for this Jameela!!!— Idin Aazami (@IdinAazami) July 6, 2020
Gynecologist here. There is so much misinformation and disinformation in this thread. Here is a link to some accurate information https://t.co/s8qImoQHoG
— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) July 5, 2020
No. Affirming #trans youth is not conversion therapy. Forcing kids to be cisgender is conversion therapy. Exposure to this latter conversion therapy is associated with suicide attempts. It’s illegal in a growing number of US states. Rowling’s are right wing bigoted talking points https://t.co/0HxmiGhBmT— Jack Turban MD ?️? ? (@jack_turban) July 5, 2020
you have literally no idea what you’re talking about.
your statement is biased, entirely unqualified, & is not in any way in line with the global medical consensus on the best treatment for transgender children & young people.
this is reckless, dangerous, & irresponsible. https://t.co/0y45cIfA7T— Dr Adrian Harrop (@AdrianHarrop) July 5, 2020
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