J.K. Rowling has been on an anti-trans crusade for the past few months, posting tweets and publishing essays that defend her harmful views even though she is spectacularly wealthy and could very well say nothing. Her latest TERF-y (that stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist) diatribe began, as her very first anti-trans controversy did, with a like.
It came to the attention of many that J.K. Rowling recently liked a tweet from a Twitter user named Sophie, who wrote, "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."
Many were quick to point out that people who believe trans people's minds need to be "healed" are dead wrong and that views like that are dangerous for trans folks who truly do not need "healing" but rather, affirmation of reality.
Of course, when J.K.'s like was discovered by the internet, people renewed their criticism of the woman who was once such a hero to young people. And because J.K. Rowling is J.K. Rowling, she simply couldn't ignore it. She decided, instead, to post a thread, digging herself into an even deeper anti-trans trench than the one in which we thought she already lived.
It remains to be seen why she felt she could ignore porn tweeted at children in her timeline, or death and rape threats, but not ignore someone calling her out for liking and supporting a tweet that is offensive to so many. In any case, a thread ensued.
In it, she claims that this criticism of her is a "lie" about what she believes when it comes to mental health medication and that the tweet she liked was posted by "a trans woman for whom I feel nothing but admiration and solidarity." (For what it's worth, Sophie's Twitter bio reads, "I do not identify as a woman, I identify WITH women.")
J.K. then goes on to write that she has struggled with her own mental health issues and has been helped by anti-depressants in the past. However, she writes, "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 calls it a "new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people" who are being medicated way too early with hormones that stop the natural course of puberty. This is false.
Not only do medical professionals consider hormone blockers safe for trans kids, but they are also "psychologically essential" for kids who are starting to exhibit physical traits of a gender that is not theirs, as Vogue puts it.
The real problem is that it can be extremely difficult and expensive for trans kids to get the treatment they need in order to live as themselves, and the lack of that treatment can have devastating consequences. Murder and suicide rates for the trans population are extraordinarily high. It is so much riskier not to affirm a trans person's identity than it is to give them the support they need.
And that is why J.K. Rowling's thread is so harmful. She goes on to list several cherry-picked stories and studies supporting her point, including one regarding the Tavistock Centre, a "gender clinic" for youth in the U.K. Juno Birch, an artist and trans woman, responded by saying that the Tavistock Centre saved her life.
Juno continues, "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's] plastering it all over her massive platform and infecting the uneducated minds about trans people and putting us at risk in public."
J.K. Rowling's continued push of these harmful and false anti-trans beliefs aren't just offensive. They're dangerous. She's got a huge platform and there are many who will take her word for it and won't do their own research, including parents and young children. It's only a matter of time before her anti-trans views ripple out into the population and have tangible negative effects.