The Harry Potter creator has repeatedly been called out for spreading “anti-trans misinformation” since early June, when she criticised the use of the phrase “people who menstruate”. She also suggested that trans women pose a potential threat to cisgender women.
On Sunday (5 July), a Twitter user claimed that Rowling had liked a tweet comparing hormone prescriptions to antidepressants. The tweet read: “Yes they are sometimes necessary and lifesaving, but they should be a last resort. Pure laziness for those who would rather medicate than put in the time and effort to heal people’s minds.”
Rowling then appeared to claim that the screenshot of her “liked” tweet misrepresented her views, and used 11 tweets to clarify her position on mental health and trans women.
“I’ve ignored fake tweets attributed to me and RTed widely,” Rowling wrote. “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”, before adding, without any sourcing, 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”.
She went on to claim that hormone therapy, which is administered to trans people to align their bodies more closely with their gender identity, is comparable to gay conversion therapy, a pseudoscience in which gay people undergo treatment, often by force, to change their sexual orientation.
Rowling tweeted: “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.”
She continued: “As I’ve said many times, transition may be the answer for some. For others, it won’t – witness the accounts of detransitioners.” Rowling then posted a link to an account of a woman who has “detransitioned” after briefly living as a trans man.
According to Stonewall, detransitioning is very rare, with a 2019 research study showing 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 detransitioned.
Rowling came under fire for her comments from a number of trans activists and allies.
Model Munroe Bergdorf 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 continued: “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.”
Artist Juno Birch tweeted that Rowling is “harming the trans community”, adding: “It’s not that she’s offensive in what she’s saying cos I couldn’t give a crap what she thinks about us, but she plastering it all over her massive platform and infecting the uneducated minds about trans people and putting us at risk in public.”
Rowling’s latest comments come days after two of the biggest Harry Potter online fansites published a joint statement condemning the author’s comments on trans people. The statement declared that her views are “out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books”.