JK Rowling has sparked fresh controversy online with a string of tweets in which she compared “hormones and surgery” prescribed to trans people to “a new kind of conversation therapy.”
The author, 54, posted a thread of tweets on Sunday, in response to recent criticism she has received over other comments on the transgender community.
Rowling shared a screenshot of a tweet which accused her of being “beyond offensive” for liking a post which read: “Hormone prescriptions are the new antidepressants. Yes they are sometimes necessary and lifesaving, but they should be a last resort – not the first option.
“Pure laziness for those who would rather medicate than put in the time and effort to heal people’s minds.”
I’ve ignored fake tweets attributed to me and RTed widely. 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. 1/11 pic.twitter.com/hfSaGR2UVa
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling)
Next to the screenshot, Rowling wrote: “I’ve ignored fake tweets attributed to me and RTed widely. 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.
“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,” she continued, adding that she has publicly spoken about her own “mental health challenges” on numerous occasions.
“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.
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)
I’ve written and spoken about my own mental health challenges, which include OCD, depression and anxiety. I did so recently in my essay ‘TERF Wars’. I’ve taken anti-depressants in the past and they helped me. 3/11
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling)
“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.”
Rowling then shared a link to a BBC documentary on the Tavistock Clinic, which treats young transgender people, and a link to an article claiming “the long-term health risks of cross-sex hormones have been now been tracked over a lengthy period.”
“These side-effects are often minimised or denied by trans activists,” the writer claimed.
Rowling’s posts were met with an almost immediate backlash with many Twitter users pointing out securing hormone treatment is not easy.
You literally make it sound like it’s super easy to get treatment, rather than a huge uphill battle. And plenty of people choose not to medically, or surgically, transition because of the risks or side effects. Doesn’t make them any less trans though.
— caolán | BLM, FTP (@IronedWaffle)
Another Doctor here, helping trans kids with gender affirming health care. JK is doing untold damage to many of these kids by quoting studies which cannot account for bias.
She really, really needs to stop.
These kids are so completely gutted.
— Seema (@seemathewombat)
Others took issue with her claim of links between hormone therapy and longterm health issues.
Hi there – heart surgeon here. The risk of heart disease related to gender affirming hormone therapy has not be ‘proven’. In addition, it is also inferred that lifelong bias causes biological responses that also lead to heart disease.
— Dr Nikki Stamp FRACS (@drnikkistamp)
Hormonal birth control, which is central to reproductive rights, has very similar cardiovascular side effects. I don’t see you railing against that.
— Lauren Morgan Whitticom (@LaurenWhitticom)
Lots of medical interventions carry long term risks or side effects, these are discussed and consented when commencing treatment as is a legal requirement. Why not discuss all treatments and their effects rather than those which fit your own agenda and narrative?
— rachael (@grrrta_raauss)
Model and activist Munroe Bergdorf was among Rowling’s critics, writing: “J.K. 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.
“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 covid19, racism & transphobia.
“Listen to supportive parents of trans kids who have watched their kids flourish after being listened to.”
J.K. 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.
— Protect Trans Kids / BLM ✊🏾 (@MunroeBergdorf)
She concluded: “While @jk_rowling is condescendingly tweeting from her mansion, black trans women are fighting for our lives. Trans kids are at home scared and navigating unsupportive environments and the government are debating our civil rights.
“J.K. Rowling, you are not helping us. STOP.”
This morning, a Scottish author who tweeted in support of Rowling was sacked from a “fiction packaging” company where she was part of a team that created books under the pen name Erin Hunter,
Gillian Philip tweeted #ISTANDWITHJKROWLING after the author’s other recent comments on the transgender community. A spokesperson for the company today told the Scotsman that “the decision was taken to no longer work with” Philip.