Listen to the latest episodes of The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling.
We have got to stop playing along with people’s psychopathologies. We have got to stop affirming untruths as though it’s compassionate. We don’t agree with anorectics that they are fat and need to keep dieting, or even have their intestines excised, do we? They have a body image dysphoria and need counseling. All these other versions of body image dysphoria are a symptom of a deeper problem. We also have kids identifying as having autism or some other psychological problem. Why? The situation is screaming at us. Our kids are messed up. They lack purpose and meaning, they need something to believe it. They don’t see anything. So they create something to give their lives meaning, to get attention and belong to a group.
JK Rowling is brave to push back, but she doesn’t go far enough. The trans movement has gone way too far now, into child mutilation and gaslighting of little kids. Enough.
This has quickly become one of my favorite podcast series. The interview with Natalie was another great episode. I think Natalie is an intelligent, caring, and articulate person, but her argument ultimately left me unconvinced. The final nail in the coffin for me was when she called on J. K. Rowling to leave her position of feeling hurt and victimization to try and consider the other side’s opinion. What’s truly astounding about this is it is exactly what the trans activist side refuses to do! I’ve listened to and considered their arguments, and Rowling has made it clear she’s done far more listening to the “other side” than any of the people cancelling her could claim to have done. They make the same vague statements toward victimization and justifications for silencing others every time. Stop with the talk of “responsibility that comes with your platform” (aka agree with us or be silent) and “we’re just fighting for the right to participate in society”. No, you’re wrong. Full stop. You are not being stopped from meaningfully participating in society in any way and are trying to impose your self-identity on everyone, with real-world consequences.
Megan is an excellent host and her compassion, patience, and understanding are truly commendable. Giving Natalie this platform to express the trans’ perspective was enlightening and an important step to giving the full picture on this complicated issue. I’ve expressed my doubt about the Free Press’ ability to reach an audience beyond conservatives and disaffected liberals, to reach the far left activists who most need to have a mirror held up in front of them. I think this podcast, and this episode in particular, could be the most effective attempt to do so thus far.
Once again I commend you guys for giving JK Rowling a space to be heard objectively. The digital stoning of people that is happening is horrific. I wanted to mention here though that I went to the above New York Times link you gave which goes to the opinion piece they wrote about her. Nowhere do they mention The Free Press. I mean, they link to the podcast, but don't mention the name of it, the free press or God forbid Bari. How petty.
I love this podcast as well as the Free Press tremendously! Megan is doing a fantastic job bringing both sides of the issue to light. It is my opinion that the interview with Noah really showed why transitioning as a teenager is so dangerous and shouldn't be allowed. His description of the wild ride of emotions he went through is exactly spot on! To go from thinking that larger breasts will "fix" things to thinking changing your gender is the answer sums up adolescence. He is a brilliant young person, but at this age, he still doesn't know what he doesn't know and he reinforced my opinion that children are no where near ready to make the decision to opt into surgery.
I'm a progressive writer and actor in Minneapolis. My social and professional community is made up of many very far-left theater artists. When the podcast first came out, I listened to the first couple of episodes and thought they were great (still do, after listening to all 6). I posted a recommendation for the series on my FB page and got immediate, heated, passionate blowback. It quickly turned into a pile-on from people I know and have worked with in real life, all of whom refused to listen to the podcast but didn't hesitate to tell me why I was wrong and bad for doing so. It was disturbing to say the least, and an ironic microcosm of the dynamics described in the series itself. I wrote about the experience and my response to it here: https://moperry.substack.com/p/a-rallying-cry-for-liberalism
I am really enjoying this series. Megan is an excellent host. I grew up watching her antics in the WBC. The change is interesting to see. You can definitely hear the same patience that was given to her come out in those she speaks to.
She asks excellent(!) questions. On top of that she has a pleasing voice to listen to. Like butta.
As another commenter said, I was ultimately unconvinced by Natalie's argument, however it did give me pause for a moment to consider. Which is exactly what I am looking for in journalism. I want to have my view challenged.
JK is intelligent, thoughtful and wise. The last few minutes of episode two talking about how her world view and Snape/Dumbledore I have revisited many times.
At this juncture, I am convinced by JKs arguments. I think she has gone above and beyond the requirement for being reasonable, and I am glad she has not turned on her position. I have the feeling that she would given better evidence.
Salem! My hometown. I know the history all too well. Loving the podcast so far, but yesterdays episode made me see red. The story of the 17-year-old made me more convinced than ever this is mental illness and we need to stop simply affirming their every whim. Yes, be kind. Treat every human with respect. But I can not go along with their delusions or demands. I agree more with J.K. We need to teach people acceptance and love of who you are. You can not simply make shit up and then demand everyone agree with you.
I’m happy to see you refer to the “good faith debate” the podcast has sparked, because so far, the trans agenda has been advanced by the opposite of good faith. Its primary means of advancement has been the use of emotional blackmail. “You must accept (indeed, you must celebrate!) every single radical position we throw out there or else children will kill themselves!!”
Another subtler tactic - but one also characterized by bad faith - is what the writer Rod Dreher refers to as the Law of Inverse Pathological Enthusiasm. Dreher notes that to a left-wing social justice advocate, discussing social justice issues incessantly from a progressive point of view demonstrates that person’s virtue and commitment to justice, “but talking about them at all from a dissenting point of view is evidence of an insane obsession with the topic.”
Progressive: "Trans trans trans trans trans!"
Progressive: "Why are you so obsessed with someone’s gender, you bigoted lunatic?!”
Beyond the emotional blackmail and the use of Dreher’s law, the trans movement has perverted the language with their pronoun madness, all the while insisting that everyone else must also pervert the language in exactly their prescribed fashion. They have proselytized and groomed children in schools, all the while counseling them to hide these conversations from parents. They have utterly corrupted science and medicine by dragooning practitioners and writers in these fields into supporting the cause (dragooning made easier by the money now sloshing through the system for conversion drugs and surgeries). And of course, they have employed the sinister power of the mob to stage attacks on social media designed to destroy the livelihoods of people who dissent from their agenda.
Frankly, if the trans movement hadn’t behaved in such an aggressively bad faith manner to this point, there would be no “witch trials” to talk about and very little if any interest in a podcast on this subject. I am seeing signs that the tide may be turning, and if your podcast is either a cause or an effect of this tide turning, then good on ya!
The latest episode is interesting. It was obviously recorded before the Jamie Reed whistle blowing article in the Free Press and Hannah Barnes' book Time to Think (available as an ebook in the US) were published. After reading Time to Think, Dr Erica Anderson tweeted on 18 March 2023 "Just finished reading ‘Time to Think,’ and now I need to go for a long walk and consider what I have learned. For those concerned about gender questioning youth? Please read this before we talk again." Anderson is a former president of WPATH.
Surely we should consider gender dysphoria as a symptom of underlying distress, not as a diagnosis? It may even be a helpful symptom, resolving some conflicts, avoiding certain issues, gaining attention or perhaps serving other purposes. But treating symptoms does not address the cause behind them. And like prescribing an aspirin for a brain tumour, it won't fix the problem, merely temporarily covering it up. And to turn distressed children into sterile, mutilated surgical patchworks fails to give them any of the help they really need, as well as, almost incidentally, expressing the underlying contempt for the homosexuals many of them would have become, as well as that for the women they will have to pretend to be. This is not just a scandal: it is shameful.
I love this podcast and look forward to each new episode. Although Dr Erica Anderson was interviewed, I do hope we get to hear from experts in Europe about the findings of the Finnish, Swedish and UK systematic reviews on the topics of puberty blockers and hormones for minors. I find this information to be crucial in a political climate where those who are in support of these interventions tend to claim that the science is settled and demonize all those who disagree as anti-science and/or anti-trans. The science is far from settled on these topics, and—as an expert cited in a recent article on the BMJ claimed—American associations advocating for these interventions in minors are giving strong recommendations based on weak data. This message should be sent loud and clear if dialogue is ever to move forward.
Well congrats on getting trans people to consent to interviews but my position remains unchanged. I think this is the main reason trans people don't want to engage in good faith debate. Both guests are delusional. Their ideas cannot become policy. They are too self absorbed to even imagine how and why men in women's bathrooms and safe spaces elevates risk. They don't see the danger of transing confused kids. Meghan did not push back. She didn't probe the issue of men in women's prisons or shelters, or transing kids which are the main points Rowling makes. Trans people are terrified that biology affects behavior. You can't change your genetics/nature. 300 million years of sexual dimorphism cannot be cosmetically airbrushed or surgically incised away. XY still have a reproductive imperitive. Most of them don't get sex reassignment surgery because sexual deviance is central to their behavior. A huge % of trans XY are sexually attracted to women. That doesn't make them lesbians. It makes them men capable of impregnating women. Keep them out of women's safe spaces.
The first guest was cancelled by TRAs for running afoul of pronoun orthodoxy yet he keeps pushing all of their idiotic agendas. We don't have to accept a society with no gender boundaries. Trans people can pretend all they want but the lines must remain drawn to protect biological women and minors. Forcing people/society to accept or humor your fetish/psychosis is not a human right.
Transgenderism is a social contagion perfectly compatible with the hyperfragility Haidt documents. Humans that are too frail to accept reality are collectively demanding that reality change to accomodate them. Academia, businesses and government become their surrogate helicopter parents swooping in to resolve the confilct for them. It's untenable.
This was an excellent podcast series! I was literally cringing listening to trans activists trash JKR. I just couldn’t understand what she said that was so anti trans! Years ago I always believed that there would be predators and other mentally ill people that would jump on the transgender band wagon just to harm or take advantage of women. Maybe it is my distrustful nature but here we go! Why would anyone think its okay for a grown man with a penis to parade around a YMCA locker room naked in front of young women and children??!! Better yet for a man to compete against women in sports after said women have spent their young lives training to be the best in their chosen sport. So disrespectful to females in every way. That being said I agree with JK that you do you after the age of consent. Please stop doing surgery on under age children!
Fantastic podcast-everything about it including music is great. I find myself looking everyday to see if a new episode dropped. In this episode I found Natalie and Noah both captivating and intelligent. Noah being just 17 is extremely intelligent. I wonder if this intelligence drives his anxiety and over thinking. I have a 17 year old son and he and his peers seemed to become monosyllabic grunters at puberty. I can’t imagine any of them speaking this thoughtfully and with such insight. Noah is probably on the high IQ side and because of this might always feel like an outsider. In Natalie’s case all the battles she is fighting seem virtual. In the real world trans people are a protected class and cannot be discriminated against. A conservative court ruled on this. Having to work out the complexities in regards to shelters, prisons, locker rooms and sports is the reality of the situation. The idea that if you discuss these complexities you’re a veiled bigot is illogical thinking. This goes back to the post by Haidt last week. There is a lot of disordered thinking going on that could be helped with CBT. Natalie mentioned how offensive it is to say this increase in trans kids is driven by the internet but I think this disordered way of thinking is. Living in physical reality and having to conform your mind to live with the limitations of reality is an anecdote to anxiety and depression. It’s agency-I can’t control reality but I can control my reaction to it. Natalie and Noah are young. They probably have no idea that in the second half of their life their entire relationship with their body will change and it functioning without pain or disease will become dominant. It’s considered conversion therapy if you don’t affirm but wouldn’t it be helpful if at first you taught a child not to treat their feelings as the gospel and tools to fight disordered thinking. They may still want surgery but what a gift you will have given them if you teach them how to get out of the disordered thinking that is making them so anxious, depressed and traumatized.
I am so impressed by the way this podcast is covering this topic. I know people are complaining on either side--"Only ONE episode from the trans point of view? How can you call this balanced!?!?!?" or "How can you give a platform to trans activists!?!?" But I feel like both these arguments miss the crucial mission of this podcast and The Free Press--to provide a platform for a variety of views and to allow for truly nuanced discussions. Part of me doesn't want to hear what the "anti-Rowling" side has to say, but that's not my better self thinking that. If what we care about is knowing the objective truth rather than staying in our echo chambers and feeding ourselves with rage against the other side, isn't it crucial to hear different perspectives? If, when we're done listening, we've been convinced, okay. If we still disagree with the "other side" and hold the views we did originally, also okay. At least we are being honest and open.
As someone from a similar-ish background to Megan Phelps-Roper, her confession about her fear of getting things wrong again or ending up in another form of bigotry rings so true for me. I've been so wrong before, and I know I can be now. That's why it's so important to listen and consider instead of closing my ears off to opinions I don't like.
This is an absolutely wonderful podcast; I'm so glad it's getting attention and sparking conversations!
IMO, a huge part of trans-activism is people who need to job/income/cause now that gays are completely accepted.