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.
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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.”
It feels as though we’re on the brink of a medical scandal. A second paper concludes:
‘Psychiatry sits on this knife-edge: running the risk of being accused of transphobia or, alternatively, remaining silent throughout this uncontrolled experiment.’ 2/4https://t.co/G3dPP2aCGq
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 25, 2020
The writers of this letter are just two of a growing number of whistleblowers. The bleak truth is that if and when the scandal does erupt, nobody currently cheering this movement on will be able to credibly claim ‘we couldn’t have known’. https://t.co/8ughoMKCun 4/4
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 25, 2020
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.
Puberty blockers, such as gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists, are for transgender children who undergo a full year of pyschological therapy, and with informed consent and their parents’ permission, receive this reversible medical therapy to delay puberty until adulthood.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) July 25, 2020
Others pointed out that not all medical professionals actually work with or understand transgender youth and criticized the Evans paper that Rowling.
1. As far as I can tell, none work with trans youth, or even trans people
2. They are recommending the same conversion therapy model as used on gays, namely looking for traumatic life events to explain why people are gay or trans, then "fix" it.
— Cassandra of Troy (@BrynnTannehill) July 25, 2020
“I’ve heard from thousands of professionals”
But are they professionals with experience working with trans youth? Probably not. Just because you work in medicine or mental health does not make you understanding of trans issues, nor does it mean you don’t carry your own biases.
— Amanda Jetté Knox (@MavenOfMayhem) July 26, 2020
The current practice of administering hormone blockers is to delay the effects of puberty to give kids time to figure out who they are.
I'm so fucking tired. Just stop. Please stop. Children are going to be denied proper care because of you.
— Girl_Krillin (@KrillinGirl) July 25, 2020
— Mangy Jay (@magi_jay) July 25, 2020
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.
She has also expressed support for conversion therapy for transgender people.