Munroe Bergdorf has described JK Rowling’s views as “dangerous” and a “threat to LGBT people” in a row over the author’s latest controversial tweets.
The transgender model and activist was referring to a series of tweets in which Rowling called hormone therapy “a new kind of conversion therapy” for young gay people.
The Harry Potter author has faced a backlash recently after comments she’s made have been accused of being “anti-trans”.
Back in June she was called out on Twitter after criticising use of the phrase “people who menstruate”.
In the latest controversy, Rowling posted a series of 11 tweets as a response to a user who criticised her for liking a tweet that said “hormone prescriptions are the new anti depressants. Yes they are sometimes necessary and lifesaving, but they should be a last resort.
“Pure laziness for those who would rather medicate than put in the time and effort to heal people's minds.”
Rowling wrote that, while she has “ignored porn tweeted at children on a thread about their art” along with “death and rape threats”, she was “not going to ignore this”.
“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,” she wrote.
She pointed out that she had written and spoken about her own mental health challenges, which include “OCD, depression and anxiety”.
“I did so recently in my essay ‘TERF Wars’. I’ve taken anti-depressants in the past and they helped me,” she said.
She added: “Many health professionals are concerned that young people struggling with their mental health are being shunted towards hormones and surgery when this may not be in their best interests.
“Many, myself included, believe we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people, who are being set on a lifelong path of medicalisation that may result in the loss of their fertility and/or full sexual function.”
According to the LGBLT equal rights charity Stonewall, conversion therapy (or “cure” therapy or reparative therapy) refers to any form of treatment or psychotherapy that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or suppress a person’s gender identity.
“It is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’,” the site says. “These therapies are both unethical and and harmful.”
Following her tweets, Rowling received some heat for her comments from a number of trans activists and allies.
Bergdorf called her “a billionaire, cisgender, heterosexual, white woman who has decided that she knows what is best for us and our bodies. This is not her fight.”
She continued: “If you want to know what is best for trans people. Listen to trans people.
“More specifically, listen to black trans women who are navigating Covid-19, racism & transphobia. Listen to supportive parents of trans kids who have watched their kids flourish after being listened to.”
Bergdorf said she believes not supporting a trans child’s transition doesn’t stop them from being trans.
“If anything[,] forcing them to live as a gender they don’t identity as, is conversion therapy,” she said.
Rowling’s latest comments come days after two of the biggest Harry Potter online fansites published a joint statement calling out the author’s comments on trans people.
The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet sites said they would no longer use photos of Rowling or link to her own website.
The statement declared that her views are “out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books”.
Bergdorf made headlines last month after announcing she had smoothed things over with L'Oréal after previously accusing the cosmetics brand of racial hypocrisy.
She was announced as L’Oréal Paris’ first-ever transgender model in August 2017, and was set to appear in its True Match campaign, which supposedly champions diversity.
However, the model was dropped after speaking out in the aftermath of white supremacist and neo-Nazi rallies that took place in Charlottesville, US.