…but Rowling is trolling again, and she’s moving into very dangerous territory. The government is considering whether to ban conversion therapy, which is discredited and dangerous. Rowling is trying to convince people that trans-affirming healthcare is also conversion therapy.
Here’s The Trevor Project:
Conversion therapists use a variety of shaming, emotionally traumatic or physically painful stimuli to make their victims associate those stimuli with their LGBTQ identities. According to studies by the UCLA Williams Institute, more than 700,000 LGBTQ people have been subjected to the horrors of conversion therapy, and an estimated 80,000 LGBTQ youth will experience this unprofessional conduct in coming years, often at the insistence of well-intentioned but misinformed parents or caretakers.
Conversion therapy is the attempt to force people to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is almost always done against the person’s will and instigated by somebody with authority over them, such as a parent or religious leader.
It ruins lives.
Exposure to “conversion therapy” — efforts by a secular or religious professional to change a transgender person’s gender identity — is associated with thoughts of and attempts at suicide, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
…“What this new study shows is that transgender people who are exposed to conversion efforts anytime in their lives have more than double the odds of attempting suicide compared with those who have never experienced efforts by professionals to convert their gender identity, he said.
Turban said one of the most alarming findings from the study was the even higher risk of psychological distress for those who reported exposure to conversion therapy during childhood. Those who were subjected to the practice before age 10 were four times more likely to report lifetime suicide attempts than the general transgender population, according to the findings.
These parents don’t view “non-affirming therapists” as conversion therapists, but the connections are clear: “gender-critical therapy” is the newest cover of a song that’s been playing for the past 50 years. And while the methods aren’t perfectly aligned, the harm that can be caused by these kinds of practices can be as severe. The desired outcome — rejection of transgender identity — is a message that’s been broadcast by a network of quasi-medical organizations, the evangelical anti-LGBTQ right, and the old guard of conversion therapists who’ve been defending their harmful actions for decades.
…As NCLR puts it: “While these contemporary versions of conversion therapy are less shocking and extreme than some of those more frequently used in the past, they are equally devoid of scientific validity and pose serious dangers to patients — especially to minors, who are often forced to undergo them by their parents or legal guardians, and who are at especially high risk of being harmed.”
But what anti-trans bigots claim is that the real conversion therapy is when parents are not putting trans kids through conversion therapy. In their minds there are no trans teenagers; just gay teenagers who are forced, often by an international Jewish conspiracy, to become trans because it’s much easier than being gay.
I don’t know where to start with this, I really don’t. The idea that it’s somehow easier to be trans or that homophobic parents would rather have a trans kid than a gay one is so deranged it’d be funny if it weren’t about something so serious.
You cannot talk somebody into being trans any more than you can talk them into being gay. If you could, there would be no trans people and no gay people, because the world is very cruel to trans people and gay people.
Conversion therapy does not work. You won’t turn a straight kid gay or a cis kid trans with any amount of propaganda. And you won’t turn a gay kid straight or a trans kid cis by torturing them. We know this, because many people have tried to do it.
Gender-affirming healthcare operates from the approach of “do as little as possible”. In most cases it is no more than using a child’s preferred name and pronouns. In the teenage years, after many months or years of assessment, it may involve puberty blockers to delay puberty in order to give them more time. And then, years later, it may involve transition, a process with an exceptionally high success rate and a very low regret rate.
Nobody goes into this lightly, and they definitely don’t go into it at high speed. There are tons of reputable studies that show that this approach is effective, that it leads to improved mental health outcomes, and it saves lives.
So of course some bigots want to get rid of it. Better a dead kid than a trans kid.
The people Rowling is amplifying want to remove all support, all healthcare and all affirmation from trans teenagers. They want trans teens to be deprived of any help and bullied until they break down and say they’re not trans.
Let’s call it what it is. Torture.
As the journalist Katelyn Burns put it, JK Rowling’s message to trans teens is simple.
Your body. My choice.