Will Mermaids be apologizing?

Less than a month ago, though, Mermaids was energetically blaming JK Rowling for suicidal thoughts among trans youth and for sharing her non-expert opinions on what it is to be a woman.

Today, J.K.Rowling re-stated her position on transgender lives. We have previously reached out to her both publicly and privately, offering a calm conversation around the issues she has raised and today, we sent a further email to her team, renewing that offer. We are yet to receive a response…. Without giving personal detail, without betraying confidences, we must represent the seriousness of the situation. We are aware through our work with families that there have been cases of self-harm and even attempted suicide following J.K.Rowling’s statements and the public response on social media and in the press…. We do not believe J.K. Rowling ‘hates’ trans people. We also welcome and accept that she is sympathetic towards trans children and teenagers. Therefore, as a woman of great power and someone sympathetic to trans young people, we ask her to acknowledge the many young people around the world who fundamentally disagree with her position on trans acceptance and we beg her to at least consider the possibility that trans young people are able to express who they are for themselves.

But are trans young people “expressing who they are for themselves”? Or are they expressing who they think they are, which is shaped by what they have heard and read and picked up from social media and friends and tv documentaries and…organizations like Mermaids? Young (and not young) people don’t just decide they’re something called “trans” out of nowhere; they decide it because it’s a thing, a meme, a fashion, an item on the list of available “identities” and causes and opportunities for being special. How do we know? Because of the novelty of the whole thing. It simply wasn’t happening 20 years ago.

J.K. Rowling rightly speaks of brave ‘detransitioned’ young women. Yet, does she consider trans people, living openly in spite of public hostility, less brave? Are those who have fought for decades to be treated with respect and dignity in a society that ridicules and demonises them, less brave? Are those children and young people who state their true gender in the face of rejection from family and friends less brave?

But what is someone’s “true gender”? What does that mean? How does it differ from knowing one has a female or male body?

There’s a long and complicated rope of bullshit that’s been woven and it’s going to take a long time to unravel it.

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