Rowling Double Downs on Downsides of Premature Transgender Transitions

Earlier this month Rowling assured one twitter critic that she would not be giving up anytime soon her role in leading resistance to transgender overreach:

She demonstrated her determination in this regard yesterday by tweeting out the stories of six women and the traumatic and life-damaging consequences they suffered after being hurried through transition to a transgender identity via hormone therapy and surgery. Read those heart-breaking autobiographical statements and Rowling’s encouraging words to each here, here, here, here, here, and here. In addition, she quoted with approval from and posted a link to a Guardian editorial in favor of opening up debate on gender ideology and medical ‘best practices’ around the transitioning of children.

Remember, these tweets are sent to The Presence’s almost 14 million followers on this social media platform. She has chosen to shift her rhetorical strategy from Contrarian Maven Feminist unashamed of bullying others herself to that of Story-Teller, sharing the experiences of women who have suffered grievously from the silencing of argument about the right and wrong of childhood and adolescent transitioning in the victims’ own words.

Rowling has said multiple times that she has been inundated with messages from such women and from health care professionals. Now she is giving them access to her global platform to share their testimony contrary to the party line that gender legislation saves lives rather than destroying them. This is a potential game-changer on this issue because of Rowling’s reach and the likely effect these stories will have on their new audience.

As someone who has criticized her previous twitter voice as counter-productive and hypocritical, I applaud this new approach of sharing the personal faces and facts behind her resistance to transgender ideologues. These individual witness statements, heart rending as the testimonies are, are undeniable proof that the assertions of transgender zealots are seriously flawed.

I hope those in Harry Potter fandom who have slanderously libeled Rowling as a “transphobe” and “bigot” will read these statements and the Guardian article with an open mind, one accepting as a possibility that they have been part of the problem in accepting uncritically transgender mania. For every member of the transgender community who were supposedly threatened or damaged by Rowling’s tweets and public statements on this subject, there are evidently at least as many women and girls who have suffered or who will suffer from the collective silence Rowling is determined to shatter about hasty legislation and medical insobriety.


  1. Rebecca Ho says

    I understood Rowling’s anger, as this situation has become so destructive so quickly.

    But this is a much better strategy. The last post on her blog/substack from the woman Helena is long, but a really elucidating read, whichever prospective you’re coming from.

  2. Elizabeth Smith says

    Incredible stories! I read every one of them. Thank you for posting.

  3. Louise Freeman says

    Until recently, my goal was to pay as little attention to Rowling’s tweets on anything other than her writings as possible. Recently, however, I was asked by some Potter scholars I know and respect to comment about some of the issues from a behavioral neuroendocrinology perspective. This forced me to do some reviews of recent scholarship that I probably should have done years ago. I’m now being encouraged to write a full length paper, and am pondering whether I have the time, energy and even the courage to do so.

    As many here know, I also have a keen interest in the power of story, particularly in its capacity to build empathy.

    I read the stories Ms. Rowling posted. I also read these:

    And I like to think I gained empathy from all of them.

    As a scientist, I share stories all the time to make points. But I also remind students that the plural of anectdote (or story) is not data. One of my guilty TV pleasures is “HGTV’s “My Lottery Dream Home” where a host helps lottery winners invest their winnings in real estate. Seeing those stories play out on screen can give you an impression that buying lottery tickets might be a reasonable path to a nicer home. But, the stories don’t tell you about the odds of winning the lottery, which are infinitesimally small.

    Neither the stories Ms. Rowling shared with her millions of reader, or the once I share here with a few hundred tell you anything about the “big picture:” the pros and cons of medical gender transitions for adolescents, or anything about how many people who transition regret that choice. For that, you need peer-reviewed research:
    Like this:

    Not as compelling a read as anyone’s “story”, but more likely to lead to better decision-making, both by practitioners and patients.

  4. Elizabeth Smith says

    @Louise Freeman — thanks for posting your comments and articles. They were also interesting reads. It does help with empathy and I am glad you shared them. I felt like the stories rather proved Helena’s point.

    The research is interesting. There definitely needs to be more done, as it seems there are significant research gaps in the area of detransitioning and long-term effects of hormone treatments. I would also like to see as neutral a study as possible on the rising occurrences of teenage girls/young women becoming men when they showed no signs of gender dysphoria at a young age.

    I have been closely involved with the Autism community for the past 2 decades and have witnessed first-hand this alarming trend and have seen what it is doing to individuals and their families. I had a work colleague whose daughter struggled with gender issues since pre-school age. While the family struggled, they weren’t totally shocked because she had always wanted to do boy things and wear boy clothes. That is not what JK, as far as I understand her writings, is upset about. If I understand her correctly, she and I share the same concern: sudden onset gender dysphoria that is taking place as middle/high schoolers, and is disproportionately high among Autistic girls. I would love to see well-done, exhaustive research as to the “why” this is happening. Then, I hope more dialogue can happen that is free of name-calling and politics. I may be niece, but I think most of genuinely care about people on both sides of this debate. I know I do.

    In that spirit, I look forward to your paper. I am sure you will put your very best into it.

  5. It was an Observer editorial.

  6. Rebecca Ho says

    Dr. Freeman,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and the articles and studies. I read through as many as I could (mostly the articles.) I hope I’ve gained some empathy.

    I’d be interested to read your paper, if you decide to write it. It is very rough out there right though. I can’t tell if trans issues or concerns, depending on a person’s perspective, are heating up even more, or if it’s just a side effect of living near the JK Rowling orbit.

    I’d planned to spend my downtime this week continuing my obsession with the Strike audio books and listening to corresponding episodes on The Strike and Ellacott Files podcast. Instead, I read so many articles on trans-genderism that I’ve started getting ads that seem to be targeting trans women. My point being is that I can understand getting sucked into the issue.

    One of the many things that I really appreciate about the Hogwarts Professor website is the decision to agree to disagree amongst the faculty. Obviously, many Harry Potter fan sites have not been able to achieve that.

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