Activists lash out at J.K. Rowling again over conversion-therapy comparison

Activists lash out at J.K. Rowling again over conversion-therapy comparison

Author J.K. Rowling has refused to apologize for her views about hormone therapy as it relates to young trans people and that continues to outrage some trans activists. Over the weekend, Rowling responded to one of her critics with a Twitter thread about the “medicalization” of young, gay people, which she compared to conversion therapy, i.e. a therapy intended to convert gay people into straight people. It started when Rowling liked this tweet by Sophie who is a trans woman:

That got a reaction from this person who went on to complain that he didn’t really want a response from Rowling.

Rowling took offense to that, saying she’s taken medication in the past for her own mental health issues and that it helped her.

Going back to her first tweet above, the “porn tweeted at children” is a reference to something Rowling has been doing during the lockdown. As she explains here, she had written a children’s book for her own kids and planned to publish it at one point, but she wound up publishing a different book for adults instead. She planned to leave the children’s book, The Ickabog, as something for her own family but changed her mind when the lockdown began. Instead of selling the book, she releases new chapters for free on the web. In response, lots of children (with help from parents) have been sending her their artwork connected to the story on Twitter and she praises many of them:

Anyway, you get the idea. I can’t imagine how thrilled some of these kids must be to get some personal praise from the author of the Harry Potter books. But apparently, some of the angry trans activists have been responding to these threads with porn, which is wildly inappropriate, not to mention counterproductive.

In addition, Rowling has been getting lots of death wishes. They aren’t really threats since I don’t think most of these people can be taken literally but they are certainly angry and ugly.

Anyway, the backstory to all of this is that some feminists like Rowling have taken issue with some trans dogma. Trans activists created the acronym TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) to identify these women and are pretty vicious online seeking to punish the TERFs for their unorthodox views. Rowling, because of her fame, is now the world’s best known TERF so she gets a tremendous amount of heat.

This really seems to have started last year with a tweet in support of a woman named Maya Forstarter who was fired over a tweet. Then last month Rowling wrote a piece on her personal website explaining her reasoning for supporting Maya and that set off another round of TERF wars.

My interest in trans issues pre-dated Maya’s case by almost two years, during which I followed the debate around the concept of gender identity closely. I’ve met trans people, and read sundry books, blogs and articles by trans people, gender specialists, intersex people, psychologists, safeguarding experts, social workers and doctors, and followed the discourse online and in traditional media. On one level, my interest in this issue has been professional, because I’m writing a crime series, set in the present day, and my fictional female detective is of an age to be interested in, and affected by, these issues herself, but on another, it’s intensely personal, as I’m about to explain.

All the time I’ve been researching and learning, accusations and threats from trans activists have been bubbling in my Twitter timeline. This was initially triggered by a ‘like’. When I started taking an interest in gender identity and transgender matters, I began screenshotting comments that interested me, as a way of reminding myself what I might want to research later. On one occasion, I absent-mindedly ‘liked’ instead of screenshotting. That single ‘like’ was deemed evidence of wrongthink, and a persistent low level of harassment began.

Months later, I compounded my accidental ‘like’ crime by following Magdalen Berns on Twitter. Magdalen was an immensely brave young feminist and lesbian who was dying of an aggressive brain tumour. I followed her because I wanted to contact her directly, which I succeeded in doing. However, as Magdalen was a great believer in the importance of biological sex, and didn’t believe lesbians should be called bigots for not dating trans women with penises, dots were joined in the heads of twitter trans activists, and the level of social media abuse increased.

I mention all this only to explain that I knew perfectly well what was going to happen when I supported Maya. I must have been on my fourth or fifth cancellation by then. I expected the threats of violence, to be told I was literally killing trans people with my hate, to be called cunt and bitch and, of course, for my books to be burned, although one particularly abusive man told me he’d composted them.

After offering five reasons why she is concerned about the current trans movement, Rowling says she’s decided to stand up to the backlash that many people are afraid to face:

It would be so much easier to tweet the approved hashtags – because of course trans rights are human rights and of course trans lives matter – scoop up the woke cookies and bask in a virtue-signalling afterglow. There’s joy, relief and safety in conformity. As Simone de Beauvoir also wrote, “… without a doubt it is more comfortable to endure blind bondage than to work for one’s liberation; the dead, too, are better suited to the earth than the living.”

Huge numbers of women are justifiably terrified by the trans activists; I know this because so many have got in touch with me to tell their stories. They’re afraid of doxxing, of losing their jobs or their livelihoods, and of violence.

But endlessly unpleasant as its constant targeting of me has been, I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it. I stand alongside the brave women and men, gay, straight and trans, who’re standing up for freedom of speech and thought, and for the rights and safety of some of the most vulnerable in our society: young gay kids, fragile teenagers, and women who’re reliant on and wish to retain their single sex spaces. Polls show those women are in the vast majority, and exclude only those privileged or lucky enough never to have come up against male violence or sexual assault, and who’ve never troubled to educate themselves on how prevalent it is.

So, you can probably see why they hate her so much. She’s articulate and reasonable and she won’t apologize when threatened. They may not have enough numbers or power to cancel J.K. Rowling but it won’t stop them from trying to punish her for espousing what they see as the wrong ideas.

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