The Harry Potter author has been on the TERF train for a while now, but these days it’s feeling more and more like she’s driving it herself.
Through a series of 11 tweets, critics now say Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling is comparing “transgender hormone therapy to gay conversion therapy.”
“I’ve ignored fake tweets attributed to me and RTed widely,” Rowling began. “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.”
“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,” she said. “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. 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 continued, “These concerns were explored by the recent BBC documentary about the Tavistock Clinic. Whistleblowers were talking about transitions driven by homophobia. As I’ve said many times, transition may be the answer for some. For others, it won’t – witness the accounts of detransitioners. ‘The system sees surgery as the easy fix to girls who do not conform.’”
The tweets went on with links to various articles articulating the author’s points. However, we should note that a research study in 2019 by Stonewall showed that de-transitioning is very rare and that of the 3,398 trans patients who spoke to the NHS Gender Identity Service between 2016 and 2017, less than one percent had expressed regrets about transition or had de-transitioned.
“Sophie is a trans woman and a true feminist ally,” Rowling tweeted next. “She was making the point that anti-depressants were over-prescribed to teenagers in the past, with serious consequences. 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.”
Rowling added, “Carl Henegan, professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, has described the off-label use of puberty blockers on under-18s as an ‘unregulated live experiment on children’. None of that may trouble you or disturb your belief in your own righteousness. But if so, I can’t pretend I care much about your bad opinion of me.”
There certainly are an array of opinions about the wizarding legend. In an article published July 6 for The Atlantic, writer Helen Lewis likened Rowling’s extremely public missteps as of late to a deeply gratifying lesson in the Potterverse.
“Those who feel rejected and disoriented by that should look for comfort in the character who is the true moral center of the Potterverse,” Lewis wrote. “It was never Harry, the boy who happened to live, whose luck always holds, whose mistakes are minor. It is Severus Snape, who was made miserable by Harry’s father and took it out on Harry, who loved Harry’s mother and betrayed her friends, who redeemed himself with a morally repugnant act. A bully, a victim, a villain, and a hero: a human.”
But is it enough to cite foul human idiosyncrasies as a means to forgive inadequacies by individuals who should probably know better and do better in the process of human evolution? That will be decided over time in the court of public opinion. For now, we have this right here to digest and dismantle (click below to expand and see all 11 tweets).
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) July 5, 2020
Rowling was back at it on Twitter Tuesday with the interaction below. Get ready for another news cycle, folks.
I'm a world expert on being talked over, lied about and defined by misogynists, on being instructed to centre everyone but my own demographic in my activism and on being denied credit for my own achievements by envious men. In other words, I'm a woman. https://t.co/CN8VZH3z0S— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 7, 2020
Written by Sarah Toce, The New Civil Rights Movement. Image via NCRM.