JK Rowling is right. Rowling caused yet another LGBT meltdown after stating in a long tweet thread her concerns surrounding transgender medical intervention in minors. “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," she wrote.
Journalist Yashar Ali, New York Magazine and Huffington Post contributor, argued, “This is dangerous, deranged, and so deeply offensive. And of course people will trot out five examples, including from places like Iran, to try and prove her point but she refuses to make that distinction. What a horrible thing to say... also 'many' my ass.”
To which Media Matters editor-at-large Parker Molloy responded, “It’s amazing how closely her arguments resemble all the 'gays are trying to recruit your children!' arguments of the past.”
The knee-jerk reaction to call anything Rowling says regarding biological sex “transphobic” has become a journalistic standard, but this statement from her is of particular importance.
Neither Ali nor Molloy seem to understand what it is that Rowling is arguing, but the uncomfortable truth is she is 100 percent correct. I respect Yashar Ali greatly, but Rowling’s argument is not "dangerous, deranged" or "deeply offensive." It’s also not transphobic.
Rowling stated firmly in her thread, "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." This is not an argument about the validity of transgender people.
Rowling’s primary concern is the health consequences of both hormone therapy and surgeries, especially in minors. She states, "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 also states firmly, "As I’ve said many times, transition may be the answer for some. For others, it won’t–witness the accounts of detransitioners. "The system sees surgery as the easy fix to girls who do not conform."
She cites a recent BBC documentary discussing how medical workers in the UK have been discouraged from bringing up welfare concerns regarding transgender youth and medical intervention. The concern of unknown risks in beginning puberty blockers has been ongoing for years, illustrated by a 2015 article on Frontline, titled, When Transgender Kids Transition, Medical Risks are Both Known and Unknown.
The NHS recently and quietly updated its trans guidelines from arguing medical transition options were “fully reversible” to a long list of possible and negative, and permanent, side effects.
As Abigail Shrier new and incredible book titled, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughtersbook perfectly illustrates, Shrier “[H]as dug deep into the trans epidemic, talking to the girls, their agonized parents, and the counselors and doctors who enable gender transitions, as well as to 'detransitioners'—young women who bitterly regret what they have done to themselves.” Ryan T. Anderson’s 2019, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, is an absolute must-read on the very real social and medical concerns surrounding the push for medical transition in minors.
But the concerns of medical risk being ignored or even censored by LGBT activists and the aggressive and hostile demand that anyone who asks about them is ‘transphobic’ and dangerous are not at the core of Rowling’s argument.
It is that when gender nonconforming behavior is viewed as a problem that must be corrected through medical intervention as well as social changes, the legitimacy of gay rights and identity are put at risk. Where a child who was gender nonconforming a decade ago may have simply been a young gay person growing into their identity, today they are looked upon as medically disordered, transgender and in need of immediate and permanent medical treatment. This is the issue Rowling is raising and one I, a transgender person myself, fully agree with.
The LGBT left has chosen to conflate any argument for diverse gender expression and body positivity, as well as simple calls for children to be allowed to grow up and decide for themselves as adults what they want their body to look like with being anti-trans.
Molloy arguing this message is similar to the 1990’s far-right anti-gay “recruiting children” rhetoric and ignored the point. This is a literal and tangible conversion of a gay person into a straight person through medical intervention. Arguing that gender nonconforming behavior and identity in gay people means they are very literally the other sex and requires a complete change of their physical body and personal identity in order to be “cured” is conversion therapy.
JK Rowling is right. Regardless of the many hundreds of people yelling for her to “shut up” and the many LGBT activists accusing her of being dangerous to transgender people, she is correct. She is also not asserting anything “anti-trans” or hateful.
Adults can decide if they want to take on the medical risks associated with transition. They are free to do so. Many of us choose not to do so. But minors and children cannot make this decision and the enormous pressure on them, their parents and the medical community is a serious issue that deserves open discussion without intimidation, silencing or bullying.
The voices of those who have come to regret there choice to alter their body in an attempt to resolve distress over their sense of identity, as beautifully illustrated by Blaire White, who is transgender herself, interviewing a transwoman in this situation, need to be heard.
Critical LGBT voices like Arielle Scarcella and Buck Angel deserve to be listened to in this debate. As do feminist voices like Helen Joyce and JK Rowling. The hostility to any dissent must end as do the ridiculous and irresponsible accusations of “harm.” Listen to Rowling on this, she is right.