June 10, 2020

"I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition. The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge."

"I struggled with severe OCD as a teenager. If I’d found community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment, I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred."

I'm reading "J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues" (at J.K. Rowling's website). Excerpt:
I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility. Some say they decided to transition after realising they were same-sex attracted, and that transitioning was partly driven by homophobia, either in society or in their families.

Most people probably aren’t aware... that ten years ago, the majority of people wanting to transition to the opposite sex were male. That ratio has now reversed. The UK has experienced a 4400% increase in girls being referred for transitioning treatment. Autistic girls are hugely overrepresented in their numbers.
The same phenomenon has been seen in the US. In 2018, American physician and researcher Lisa Littman set out to explore it. In an interview, she said: ‘Parents online were describing a very unusual pattern of transgender-identification where multiple friends and even entire friend groups became transgender-identified at the same time. I would have been remiss had I not considered social contagion and peer influences as potential factors.’

Littman mentioned Tumblr, Reddit, Instagram and YouTube as contributing factors to Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, where she believes that in the realm of transgender identification ‘youth have created particularly insular echo chambers.’

Her paper caused a furore. She was accused of bias and of spreading misinformation about transgender people, subjected to a tsunami of abuse and a concerted campaign to discredit both her and her work. The journal took the paper offline and re-reviewed it before republishing it. However, her career took a similar hit to that suffered by Maya Forstater. Lisa Littman had dared challenge one of the central tenets of trans activism, which is that a person’s gender identity is innate, like sexual orientation. Nobody, the activists insisted, could ever be persuaded into being trans.

The argument of many current trans activists is that if you don’t let a gender dysphoric teenager transition, they will kill themselves. In an article explaining why he resigned from the Tavistock (an NHS gender clinic in England) psychiatrist Marcus Evans stated that claims that children will kill themselves if not permitted to transition do not ‘align substantially with any robust data or studies in this area. Nor do they align with the cases I have encountered over decades as a psychotherapist.’

The writings of young trans men reveal a group of notably sensitive and clever people. The more of their accounts of gender dysphoria I’ve read, with their insightful descriptions of anxiety, dissociation, eating disorders, self-harm and self-hatred, the more I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition. The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge. I struggled with severe OCD as a teenager. If I’d found community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment, I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred.

When I read about the theory of gender identity, I remember how mentally sexless I felt in youth. I remember Colette’s description of herself as a ‘mental hermaphrodite’ and Simone de Beauvoir’s words: ‘It is perfectly natural for the future woman to feel indignant at the limitations posed upon her by her sex. The real question is not why she should reject them: the problem is rather to understand why she accepts them.’

As I didn’t have a realistic possibility of becoming a man back in the 1980s, it had to be books and music that got me through both my mental health issues and the sexualised scrutiny and judgement that sets so many girls to war against their bodies in their teens. Fortunately for me, I found my own sense of otherness, and my ambivalence about being a woman, reflected in the work of female writers and musicians who reassured me that, in spite of everything a sexist world tries to throw at the female-bodied, it’s fine not to feel pink, frilly and compliant inside your own head; it’s OK to feel confused, dark, both sexual and non-sexual, unsure of what or who you are.

I want to be very clear here: I know transition will be a solution for some gender dysphoric people, although I’m also aware through extensive research that studies have consistently shown that between 60-90% of gender dysphoric teens will grow out of their dysphoria....

We’re living through the most misogynistic period I’ve experienced. Back in the 80s, I imagined that my future daughters, should I have any, would have it far better than I ever did, but between the backlash against feminism and a porn-saturated online culture, I believe things have got significantly worse for girls. Never have I seen women denigrated and dehumanised to the extent they are now. From the leader of the free world’s long history of sexual assault accusations and his proud boast of ‘grabbing them by the pussy’, to the incel (‘involuntarily celibate’) movement that rages against women who won’t give them sex, to the trans activists who declare that TERFs need punching and re-educating, men across the political spectrum seem to agree: women are asking for trouble. Everywhere, women are being told to shut up and sit down, or else.

I’ve read all the arguments about femaleness not residing in the sexed body, and the assertions that biological women don’t have common experiences, and I find them, too, deeply misogynistic and regressive.... [A]s many women have said before me, ‘woman’ is not a costume. ‘Woman’ is not an idea in a man’s head. ‘Woman’ is not a pink brain, a liking for Jimmy Choos or any of the other sexist ideas now somehow touted as progressive. Moreover, the ‘inclusive’ language that calls female people ‘menstruators’ and ‘people with vulvas’ strikes many women as dehumanising and demeaning. I understand why trans activists consider this language to be appropriate and kind, but for those of us who’ve had degrading slurs spat at us by violent men, it’s not neutral, it’s hostile and alienating....

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....

47 comments:

daskol said...

“Woman is not a costume.”

Them’s fighting words.

MayBee said...

Good for her.

gilbar said...

Autistic girls are hugely overrepresented in their numbers.

Mental illnesses are hugely overrepresented in people with mental illnesses

Who'd have thunk it ?

Sebastian said...

"Everywhere, women are being told to shut up and sit down, or else."

WTF? Not in the last half century.

Even a half-way rational dissection of transgenderism can't do without a heavy dose of prog bad faith.

Joan said...

When you've got "Fuck you money," you can speak out.

God bless her for writing this. Because *she* wrote it, maybe more people will read it.

The usual suspects will try even harder to cancel her now. I wish her the best in holding her own.

Lucid-Ideas said...

This is extremely funny to me because the usual refrain you here from mtf trans people is that being a woman - in today's society - is so much easier.

Jordan Peterson (I'm not really a fan, but he hit the nail on the head here...) has stated repeatedly that "the lack of encouragement" for boys in modern society is simply staggering. Modern society is and has been focused on female encouragement and female improvement for the better part of a century now. I disagree with some thinkers that this has been to the detriment of boys, but it sure as damn sure hasn't been to their encouragement. This is also in the face of numerous technological disruptions (like birth control) that have provided life-changes to modern Western women their grandmothers could've never dreamed of.

So yeah, it's funny to me. You have business-as-usual for boys and men - as it has been for life-ages of the earth - while women have seen encouragement the likes of which they couldn't have dreamed of....quite literally a society made safe for them in ways unimaginable by any feminine dream at any point previous in history or antiquity, but being a boy is easier for JK Rowling while being a girl for a significantly larger proportion of men is being easier.

I wonder if such a thing would warrant a 'democratic' approach? The greater the majority of men choosing to be women vs. women choosing to be men deciding who really has it 'easier'? Such a thing is ridiculous of course, but it would be interesting to see the female reaction to such a 'proposal'...something tells me large numbers of women would need to see the manager.

rhhardin said...

Two great sexes animate the world (Milton, Paradise Lost).

Porn doesn't dehumanize women. It animates pussy.

gilbar said...

a person’s gender identity is innate

CLEARLY! the fact that a person's gender identity can change from day to day, is PROOF that that identity is innate

Right? I mean, right?

Lucid-Ideas said...

Never forget Hillary Clinton's quote from her 98 speech:

"Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat."

I'm hearing the same tone-deaf rhyme here...anyone else?

Cath said...

She's right. God help the tomboys and late bloomers today.

Drago said...

Its too late JK.

You are on the wrong side of Howard's Maoist Struggle Session Heroes and nothing less than full and complete capitulation and self-abasement will get them to back off a smidge....and even then its only temporary.

mccullough said...

Way to get a Trump bash in there to prove your bona fides.

ga6 said...

She definately needs something to do to keep her mind off herself..as my Grandmother would say..

Dave Begley said...

Notwithstanding her money, JK is going to take huge pushback and grief over this.

How did we ever come to this place? How many trans people are in the US? 50k? 100k?

Gahrie said...

Even a half-way rational dissection of transgenderism can't do without a heavy dose of prog bad faith.

Way to get a Trump bash in there to prove your bona fides.

Not only was the Trump bash gratuitous, it was inaccurate and in bad faith. Trump didn't "... proud(ly) boast of ‘grabbing them by the pussy’...". Trump said that women would let him grab them if he wanted to. He wasn't bragging of sexual assault, he was remarking about the behavior of women.

JackWayne said...

I really can’t give one fuck about crazy people. FWIW, trans people imo are Gay people who are afraid to come out of the closet. They don’t feel right about having sex with someone from their biological sex so they “trans” to a different sex. So they can have “good” sex. The true villains are psychiatrists and others who encourage this insanity.

Rick said...

the sexualised scrutiny and judgement that sets so many girls to war against their bodies in their teens

Society creates pressure teens have a tough time with?


Most people probably aren’t aware... that ten years ago, the majority of people wanting to transition to the opposite sex were male

Revealingly she doesn't consider that similar unfair treatment causes some portion of sensitive males to want to escape.

rcocean said...

Yes, its NEVER been worse for Women than right now. Isn't that always True? Is it EVER possible for women for talk about anything without playing the victim?

BTW, she gives the percentage of increase in Female to Male sex changes. I'd love to see the absolute numbers. Because it'd show we're talking about an absurdly tiny group of people.

Krumhorn said...

Rather than celebrate this nonsense, wouldn't it be more accurate and useful to say that it's a mental illness in same vein as any other confusion as described in the Mental Disorder Manual?

We sure seem to be giving a lot of air time to perverts and more perverts. The showrunner on the Netflix series has been published in the Hollywood Reporter that they are going to embrace depicting penetrative anal sex onscreen among the boys....like we need to see that. "It can be painful, pleasurable, awkward, sexy and so not sexy."

We are being overrun by the perverts.

- Krumhorn

Tomcc said...

Nodding in agreement right up to paragraph 10. "The most misogynistic period" she's experienced? Mr. Trump (IMO) is an outlier, but I have to agree that no group has been more damaging to females in our society than feminists and their trans allies. I have six sisters, all of whom came of age in the late 60's and early 70's. All of them finished college and all but one got graduate degrees. All went into professional careers and all but one married and had a family.
My advice is always: choose the internal locus of control and stop your damned navel gazing.

Mr Wibble said...

Western society eliminated any common culture, shared heritage, religious traditions and rituals, and basically every other institution used to help young men and women build their identities, and then is shocked when the result is madness.

I suspect that the generation of young men and women born and raised in broken homes is a huge factor. Combined with about sixty years of radical feminism attacking marriage and motherhood, and young women have basically been told that to want marriage and family rather than to climb the corporate ladder is to be a failure as a woman. They lack good male role models in their lives, and see feminized soibois all around them, and think that if they can resemble the parody of masculinity that they have in their heads, then they won't feel so lost.

Lyssa said...

Read that earlier, and my first thought was that I thought Althouse would find it interesting. It fits my thoughts about feminism and the “feminism” that seems to be practiced in many circles quite well.

Lucid, I think it’s completely possible that the answer is both. It’s hard to be a male in many ways, and those ways are not evenly distributed. It’s also hard to be female for some, on very different ways.

Night Owl said...

I agree with a lot of what she says. I wanted to be a boy when I was a teenager. I hated menstruating, childbirth terrified me, and the often aggressive attention of men made me uncomfortably self-conscious. I've wondered what would have happened to me if I'd been born 40 years later.

I've mentioned before that with two of my nieces, 1 thought she was gay and grew out of it, and the other, at 15, still refers to "himself" and dresses as a boy.

The left's obsession with transgenderism is fucking with our kids' minds.

Vonnegan said...

Amen

Spiros said...

The fish in Finding Nemo were clownfish! Also all clownfish are born male, though some swap genders later in life...

Very funny stuff from Ms. Rowling.

Jokah Macpherson said...

"Way to get a Trump bash in there to prove your bona fides."

Incels too. Nobody likes them.

I have to hand it to Rowling for having the balls (figuratively speaking only) to eloquently defend her position, though.

Gospace said...

gilbar said...
Autistic girls are hugely overrepresented in their numbers.

Mental illnesses are hugely overrepresented in people with mental illnesses

Who'd have thunk it ?


If an upvote option were available- this would get it.

If actual real life sex change were available, able to turn you from a fully functional male to fully functional female or vice versa-I suspect a lot more people would try it. Isn't ever going to happen surgically. But think- take a pill, have the nanobots swarm through your body, reprogramming your DNA, and a a few days of intense suffering and pain, the new you emerges. I somehow can't imaging it happening without some pain and suffering as you're torn apart and rebuilt.... Should be available bout the same time as you can take a pill and rebuild your liver. I imagine a lot of people are curious about how the other sides lives and feels.

The other thing to wonder if such a miracle were available is- how many would switch back (or even back and forth) and how many wold stay once switched? Of course, the rebuilding process would include a complete repair to all body systems, so the new you would be younger.

There's a science fiction story plot there.... including the end of social security.

Michael K said...

The psychiatrist who founded the Johns Hopkins transgender clinic closed it because so many patients were coming back and asking to be returned to their birth gender. Plus lots of psychiatric problems. He, of course, has been vilified and his advice on Gender Dysphoria ignored.

walter said...

"Never have I seen women denigrated and dehumanised to the extent they are now."
Good grief. I guess Scotland didn't enter the metoo age.
Now, instead of lamenting the closing gap, flip it and give your reason for why males are more likely to transition.

Kate said...

Well-written. She's gotten better since the Harry days.

I'd always thought of her as a squish, but she shows a backbone. Natal women need her voice. The fray is ugly; I'm glad she's jumped into the middle of it.

JAORE said...

It was the best of times,it was the worst of times. Worst mostly for neurotic people searching for something, anything to bring meaning to their lives.

Boy what a pile of assumes facts not in evidence and damn you if you try to provide any.

What we need now is the appearance of the Blue Fairy.

Susan said...

I am technology support for a middle school. The tremendous pressure on non-typical boys and girls to come out as either gay or transgender is unbelievable.

And it doesn't come from the school. It comes from their trendy woke single moms and the "mean girl" contingents.

It has always been tough to be atypical as a middle school kid but now the forces arrayed against you are enough to drive the sanest of kids into mental illness.

If you are different, you must be gay or transgender. If you say you aren't, it can only mean you are transphobic or homophobic. There's no such thing as a late bloomer these days. SJW moms get too much acclaim for "supporting" their gender curious child to ever encourage them to explore the nuances of their birth gender first before putting them on dangerous transition drugs.

Jk will provide a tremendous service to these kids by offering a reason to hope they might be a successful person if they can resist the pressure to fundamentally change themselves to make others happy.

A large percentage of the kids like this are huge fans of hers. Knowing that she came through it will make a difference to some of them.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Sebastian said...
"Everywhere, women are being told to shut up and sit down, or else."

True in the Middle East.

Here we have the opposite problem.

The Karens won't stop screeching.

Jamie said...

I've seen the Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria thing in action. And this teen's parents immediately put him (at the time, still her) on hormones. At this point, the teen is going to be of age this summer - I anticipate top surgery, paid for by parents (currently the rather buxom teen binds, I gather, plus the hormones probably help).

And then I anticipate the young adult changing again-her mind and the parents being devastated. Because it's so woke to say with that air of sad resignation, "Of course we're supportive. We love our child... even though we don't have the child we thought we had."

I believe they are 100% sincere about it all. But I've known that kid since preschool and very much doubt that gender was the issue. That said, he's apparently happier at present, fwiw.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Very well written piece.

The only two transgender people I have known were both tradesmen a mechanic and a machinist. This was quite a while ago. I doubt the feminists can be blamed for their issues.

Jamie said...

I'd like to add that I was writing my comment before seeing Susan's above - this is exactly how it went in the family I know, except that the parents are married.

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Lyssa

The society you live in, the society you depend upon, and the social interactions that provide the cause and reason for being for having a vagina are provided and vouchsafed on a daily basis by people that have penises and like their penises.

If women were in charge of anything, we'd still be "living in grass huts." (Camille Paglia), and she's right.

Women are nice. I like women. I like my fiancee. But I think it's important for women to realize that the same technological advances (99% driven by men) that has provided such freedom may also someday make women biologically useless. We've already proven with animals that non-sexual single-stem-cell reproduction ex-vitro can be accomplished in a lab setting (translation: single genetic contributor fertilization of artificial embryos in an artificial placenta in a lab, with farm animals, in China). Further refinement could mean - in 100 years - that a man could have biological offspring without need for a female sexual contribution of eggs.

You might say, 'well a woman could do the same thing'. Surely she could, if the technological rights and ability to harness or learn from its potential were hers in the first place. Who says those would be 'given'to 'her'? Whom would she find to enforce it? From where and from how? That worked out so well for women in the information revolution too, huh? Females are always reactive. Females are always passive. It's not your fault. It's your nature.

I like women. I just wish they liked men with the same passion, and with far less jealousy than modern civilization makes them feel. Behind every great man is another great man, upon whose foundation he builds the next fitting and pier in a great structure, not a woman.

Howard said...

It must be tough having one gender while being the opposite sex. It seems from the point of view of an outsider the healthiest solution is acceptance without medical intervention.

However, there must be a strong brainstem drive to transform the sex into the gender. The flesh must bend to the spirit, evidently. Then there is the problem of buyers remorse.

Given they are born into this, having you people shit on them is icing on the cake. No wonder suicide is attractive.

Narr said...

Gospace-- scifi already done. Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness is about a humanoid species the members of which transition naturally from male to female and back.

Interesting, if only vaguely recalled.

Narr
O noes she was a lefty!

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment

This is the nut. That, plus the pernicious bullshit we now teach kids that they know anything and should be listened to. Children should be seen and not heard, because they don't know anything, and they should be listening to their elders.

I'm Not Sure said...

She says this:

"Most people probably aren’t aware... that ten years ago, the majority of people wanting to transition to the opposite sex were male."

and this:

"I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition. The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge."

If she felt the allure of escaping womanhood, what sort of allure did she suppose the males were feeling, ten years ago? And where did she think she would be escaping to?

Lyssa said...

Lucid, was there a reason you tacked my name to the top of your comment? Because the comment had absolutely nothing to do with anything I wrote.

n.n said...

Transgender spectrum. There's a reason why trans/homosexuals appropriated em-pathetic and cultural labels and are in progress to socially distance themselves from other bands in the spectrum. Even trans/bisexuals are impure and socially deplorable. Divergent and weirder.

Hey Skipper said...

Mass hysteria is almost universally female.

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Lyssa

Your name was 'tacked' because I disagree with your premise entirely, from your statement, that "the answer is both. It’s hard to be a male in many ways, and those ways are not evenly distributed. It’s also hard to be female for some, on very different ways."

You are incorrect. Having a vagina has never been easier. Ever. For your gender/sex/whatever in anthropological history. Never. Ever. Before. You have never experienced what your grandma experienced. Ever. Or your mama. Ever. Or G-mama-mama. Ever.

Your kind of female hasn't existed before. Ever. You are very much a product of your age. Maybe even a final product.

The answer is not both. You are incorrect. You didn't build the world or the safety you take for granted. No aggression is intended by my statement...outside of forces majeure.

Jamie said...

Ok, so given the tendency of people to surround themselves with the like-minded, and the tremendous popularity of at least the idea of being trans these days, why would a trans person feel "shit on" by "you people," as Howard says?

Sure, to point to an external cause for the high suicide rate among trans people would be convenient to the idea of transitioning as a healthy response to feelings of dysphoria. But the facts would seem to suggest an internal cause instead. Mental health counseling is indicated, regardless, because that rate is so high.

And another thing... I cannot know what it feels like to be a man; having been born in a female body. Therefore if I did feel as if I were "in the wrong body," I don't see how I could make the logical leap to imagining that the body I felt I was in was male. The furthest I can see that I could go would be a sense of deep discomfort from which I got some relief by imagining I were male.

Jamie said...

Yeah, I messed up my thought experiment - should have said, "Therefore if I did feel as if I were "in the wrong body," I don't see how I could make the logical leap to imagining that the body I felt I should be in was male."