Bias Watch

JK Rowling claims a “medical scandal” involving transgender kids is coming

J.K. Rowling
J.K. RowlingPhoto: Shutterstock

J.K. Rowling – the uber-wealthy Harry Potter creator who threatened legal action to force children’s websites to apologize for criticizing her views on transgender people – is now claiming that there is a coming “medical scandal” that involves puberty blockers for transgender kids.

Puberty blockers are hormones given to some transgender kids that delay the onset of puberty, giving them and their families more time to understand their identity before their bodies undergo permanent changes. Transgender people who had access to puberty blockers are one-third as likely to report suicidal thoughts as those who wanted them but didn’t get them.

Related: How J.K. Rowling helped kill a proposed American LGBTQ civil rights law

But that’s not how Rowling would describe them.

On Twitter, Rowling shared a paper by British psychoanalyst Marcus Evans that criticized conversion therapy bans. He described the experiences of the very small number of “de-transitioners” – the transgender equivalent of “ex-gays” – and concluded that many young people are getting “coaching” online to pretend to be transgender.

In the paper, Evans wrote about “the extraordinary grip of powerful trans lobbies” in “silencing clinicians who fear them” to explain why most medical and mental health professionals in his country disagree with him. He cited some criticism in a few newspapers.

Rowling wrote that those who “dismiss” Evans “do so at their own peril.”

“Since speaking up about gender identity theory, I’ve received thousands of emails – more than I’ve ever had on a single subject,” she wrote. “Many have come from professionals working in medicine, education, and social work. All are concerned about the effects on vulnerable young people.”

On Twitter, a doctor explained how these “reversible” medications work.

“Puberty blockers, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, are for transgender children who undergo a full year of psychological therapy, and with informed consent and their parents’ permission, receive this reversible medical therapy to delay puberty until adulthood,” wrote Dr. Eugene Gu.

Others pointed out that not all medical professionals actually work with or understand transgender youth and criticized the Evans paper that Rowling.

Rowling has attacked the transgender community repeatedly over the past year, causing staff at her publishing agency to rebel against her new work. Actors from the Harry Potter film series have denounced her transphobia, and three authors have left the Blair Partnership, a literary agency that also represents Rowling, after it reportedly refused to affirm its support for trans equality.

Rowling tried defending her transphobia in a 3,700-word rambling essay. Her words have since been used to kill pro-transgender legislation in the United States.

She has also expressed support for conversion therapy for transgender people.

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