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J.K. Rowling tells critics 'can't pretend I care much about your bad opinion of me' in new debate on trans health

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For weeks now, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has been defending herself after what are being called anti-trans tweets she posted caused intense backlash. On Sunday, she took to Twitter again with words that caused controversy, this time in a series of tweets about hormone prescriptions and trans people, arguing that hormone therapy and surgery are being used with too much frequency.

In an 11-part Twitter thread, Rowling responded to an accusation from a Twitter user and writer Triner Scot, who charged that Rowling found “people who take mental health medication ‘lazy.’” Rowling swiftly replied, saying, “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 latest round of controversy began when Twitter users spotted that Rowling liked a tweet by the aforementioned trans woman, saying “hormone prescriptions are the new antidepressants.” The tweet also says that hormone prescriptions can be “necessary and lifesaving, but they should be a last resort — not a first option. Pure laziness for those who would rather medicate than put in the time and effort to heal people’s minds.” Many on Twitter quickly noticed that Rowling had liked this tweet, including Scot who wrote, “This sentiment is beyond offensive, it is actively harmful to millions.”

In her response to Scot’s criticism, Rowling denied that she objected to the use of medication for mental health issues, noting that she herself has taken anti-depressants.

But when it comes to “cross-sex hormones” and transitioning, Rowling believes “we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people.” In her latest tweets, she claims that “many health professionals” believe that young people are “being shunted towards hormones and surgery when this may not be in their best interests.”

Scot, to whom Rowling was initially addressing this Twitter response, called the comparison of transitioning to conversion therapy “offensive and dangerous.”

Rowling’s thread once again quickly turned into a debate. While many expressed agreement with Rowling — who retweeted a couple of supportive messages — others, including writers and transgender activists Parker Malloy and Paris Lees, were quick to denounce her views as “clueless” and offensive to the trans community.

Rowling first made headlines for her perspective on trans people on June 6, when she commented on an article headlined Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate, writing, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” She went on to dismiss the idea that biological sex “isn’t real” and called for a distinction between women and trans women.

Following backlash to those comments, she wrote an essay about her perspective, which led to responses from GLAAD and Warner Bros. (the company behind the Harry Potter films). Most recently, two popular Harry Potter fan sitesMuggleNet and the Leaky Cauldron — released a joint statement officially distancing themselves from the author.

“Although it is difficult to speak out against someone whose work we have so long admired, it would be wrong not to use our platforms to counteract the harm she has caused. Our stance is firm: Transgender women are women. Transgender men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. Intersex people exist and should not be forced to live in the binary. We stand with Harry Potter fans in these communities, and while we don’t condone the mistreatment JKR has received for airing her opinions about transgender people, we must reject her beliefs,” they wrote in the statement.

Rowling ended her most recent 11-part tweet with a declaration that the opinions of others don’t matter to her. “None of this may trouble you or disturb your belief in your own righteousness,” she wrote. “But if so, I can’t pretend I care much about your bad opinion of me.”

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