Trans pioneer Paris Lees throws down simple challenge to JK Rowling: ‘Come to lunch after lockdown and meet with young trans kids’
The trailblazing trans activist Paris Lees has thrown down the gauntlet for JK Rowling by inviting her to lunch with some young transgender people.
The Harry Potter author is facing widespread condemnation for her repeated anti-trans statements in the midst of Pride month.
In response to the backlash, the author penned an essay attempting to justify her position — while conflating being transgender with mental illness.
“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,” she wrote.
JK Rowling continued by suggesting that, as she struggled with severe ODC with a teenager, she herself might have “been persuaded” to be transgender if she had found community and sympathy online.
While it is true that transgender people do suffer from higher rates of mental health issues, this is not a cause of gender dysphoria, and being transgender is no longer classified as a mental health condition by the World Health Organization.
The WHO has recognised that describing it as such caused a stigma which, in turn, will have contributed to transgender people’s mental ill health.
JK Rowling invited to meet young trans people in an ’empathic setting’.
JK Rowling’s misunderstanding shocked and offended many in the transgender community, but Paris Lees saw it as an opportunity for education.
On Wednesday evening (June 10), Lees graciously tweeted that she would like to invite Rowling over for lunch “when lockdown is over”.
“I’ve met with hundreds of media professionals via @AllAboutTrans and would be very happy to introduce her to some young trans people and their families in a friendly, supportive, empathic setting,” she said.
I’m going to bed but would like to invite @jk_rowling for lunch when lockdown is over.
I’ve met with 100s of media professionals via @AllAboutTrans and would be very happy to introduce her to some young trans people and their families in a friendly, supportive, empathic setting.
— Paris Lees (@parislees) June 11, 2020
She added that, if Rowling were to accept the invitation, it would be “a friendly, supportive, empathic environment for everyone”.
“We’ve been organising meetings like this for years and have tried and tested processes in place to make sure that everyone involved feels prepared, safe and respected,” she said. “It’s essentially the opposite of social media.”
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Lees’ suggestion was widely praised, with Derry Girls actor Nicola Coughlan replying: “That is really kind of you Paris and amazing to offer that opportunity, you’re brilliant.”
A true power move.