J.K. Rowling Receives Backlash After New Comments About the Transgender Community

J.K. Rowling is under fire once again. The author shared her opinions on how "we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people," along with other Tweets on Sunday.

By Alyssa Morin Jul 05, 2020 11:44 PMTags
J.K. RowlingWalter McBride/WireImage

J.K Rowling is once again speaking out about the transgender community.

On Sunday, July 5, the Harry Potter author took to Twitter to share her opinions on how "we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people." The 54-year-old writer's series of tweets ignited when someone suggested that she had "liked" a tweet that claimed people on "mental health medication" were "lazy."

"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," Rowling responded to the claim.

"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," she continued. "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 antidepressants in the past and they helped me."

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"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 stated.

Adding, "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 medicalization that may result in the loss of their fertility and/or full sexual function."

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"As I've said many times, transition may be the answer for some. For others, it won't—witness the accounts of detransitioners," Rowling wrote. "The long-term health risks of cross-sex hormones have been now been tracked over a lengthy period. These side-effects are often minimized or denied by trans activists."

She closed her thread, "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."

The Harry Potter author also shared a couple of studies and articles she believed further explained her point. However, many felt her tweets were insensitive and harmful to the transgender community.

Trans activist and model, Munroe Bergdorf, responded to Rowling's tweets.

"Not once has @jk_rowling stopped to think about the damage she is doing to the mental health of trans kids. Not supporting a trans kids transition doesn't stop them from being trans," the model shared. "If anything forcing them to live as a gender they don't identity as, is conversion therapy."

She wrote, "Kids, I want to say that I am so, so sorry this is happening. I will fight tooth and nail on this for you, I will always fight for you. These evil people will not win."

YouTuber Kat Blaque expressed, "Why does JK Rowling need to keep reminding the world that she doesn't see transgender people's genders as valid? I hate to say this but trans folks who take hormones, have surgeries etc, KNOW their biology isn't similar to the cis folks who share their gender."

Adding, "And it's honestly so annoying for people to pretend that taking a stance against transgender folks is edgy and is a stance that's actively silenced. I hate how people forget that while you debate about if trans folks get to participate in public society, time continues for us."

Drag artist Juno Birch wrote, "JK Rowling needs to be quiet immediately she is literally harming the trans community, she apparently just posted the clinic I went to as a child and said that they are experimenting on us, when in fact the Tavistock clinic saved my life."

RuPaul's Drag Race U.K. star Cheryl Hole also called out the author.

"So when is @jk_rowling going to get taken down for her hate crime messages against the Trans community? AGAIN," the drag queen shared. "The HATE she is spouting off is doing nothing but damaging an already vulnerable group of people and she must have repercussions for her actions!"

This isn't the first time in recent months Rowling has sparked backlash over her transgender comments. Last month, she came under fire after posting an opinion article from a global health website titled, "Creating a More Equal Post-COVID-19 World for People Who Menstruate."

The 54-year-old took to Twitter and explained her confusion with its wording about "people who menstruate." 

"I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out," Rowling wrote at the time. "Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

She later added, "If sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction. If sex isn't real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn't hate to speak the truth."

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She concluded, "I respect every trans person's right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I'd march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it's hateful to say so."

Shortly after, Harry Potter actors and other Hollywood stars spoke out, including Daniel RadcliffeKatie LeungEddie RedmayneJonathan Van Ness and more.

"Transgender women are women," Radcliffe wrote in a blog post for The Trevor Project. "Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I."

"It's clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people," he added. "Not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm."

Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Despite the backlash, Rowling defended her comments and penned a personal essay in which she shared that she was a sexual assault survivor.

"This isn't an easy piece to write, for reasons that will shortly become clear, but I know it's time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity. I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity," she wrote.

In closing, she said, "The last thing I want to say is this. I haven't written this essay in the hope that anybody will get out a violin for me, not even a teeny-weeny one," she said. "All I'm asking – all I want – is for similar empathy, similar understanding, to be extended to the many millions of women whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without receiving threats and abuse."