JK Rowling compares trans treatment to gay conversion therapy The Times 06.07.20

The original article is here.

JK Rowling is at the centre of another row over trans rights after she described hormone treatment as a “new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people”.

The author, 54, commented on Twitter after she allegedly “liked” a tweet comparing hormone prescriptions to antidepressants. “Pure laziness for those who would rather medicate than put in the time and effort to heal people’s minds,” the post read.

Critics said that calling people who chose medication lazy was “beyond offensive”. They accused Rowling of being “actively harmful to millions”. So-called gay conversion therapy is a widely condemned pseudoscience while hormone treatment is approved for use by the NHS.

The backlash prompted the Harry Potter writer to clarify her position on mental health and trans women.

“I’ve ignored fake tweets attributed to me and [shared] widely,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’ve ignored porn tweeted at children on a thread about their art. I’ve ignored death and rape threats. I’m not going to ignore this.”

Rowling wrote that she had used antidepressants herself to combat “OCD, depression and anxiety”, adding that “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”.

A Times article cited in the thread includes a warning from five clinicians who resigned from the only NHS gender clinic for children, the Tavistock centre in London, over concerns that hundreds of young people were being sent for medical intervention without sufficient evidence of its long-term effects.

Rowling then suggested that hormone therapy for transgender people was comparable to gay conversion therapy, a widely condemned pseudoscience in which gay people undergo “treatment” to change their sexual orientation.

She wrote: “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.

“As I’ve said many times, transition may be the answer for some. For others, it won’t – witness the accounts of detransitioners.”

The tweets drew criticism from activists. Munroe Bergdorf, the trans model, tweeted: “JK Rowling is not a scientist. She is not a doctor. She is not an expert on gender. She is not a supporter of our community. She is a billionaire, cisgender, heterosexual, white woman who has decided that she knows what is best for us and our bodies. This is not her fight.”

She added: “If you want to know what is best for trans people, listen to trans people. More specifically, listen to black trans women who are navigating Covid-19, racism & transphobia. Listen to supportive parents of trans kids who have watched their kids flourish after being listened to.”

Another activist, Mey Rude, wrote: “To be clear: what JK Rowling and other terfs [trans exclusionary radical feminists] are advocating for is the torture and deaths of trans youth.”

Rowling’s views on transgender rights have been publicly rejected by many of the stars of the Harry Potter film series, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

At the weekend several large Harry Potter fan sites released a joint statement condemning Rowling. Among them was Mugglenet, which said she was “out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books”.

However, the statement prompted the website’s founder, Emerson Spartz, to publicly defend Rowling, stating she is “NOT transphobic”. He was then blocked by moderators of the Mugglenet Twitter page.

“Thank you, Emerson, for being who I always thought you were,” Rowling wrote.