Jacqueline Wilson: Gender reassignment for children makes me very worried

Creating a transgender character is not high on her agenda, the author says

Dame Jacqueline Wilson has said the thought of children receiving gender reassignment treatment makes her “very, very worried”. The 73-year-old author has written some of the most-loved children’s books of all time, but in a new interview with The Daily Telegraph, she confessed that creating a transgender character is not high on her agenda and revealed would only do so “if there was a really strong reason”.

“I wouldn’t want people to think I’d jumped on the bandwagon just because it’s current and in the news,” Wilson said.

The Girls in Love author went on to say that undergoing gender reassignment surgery is “nothing to be taken lightly”.

“Some people, right from the time that they are toddlers, are aware that something is wrong and they wish that they could be the other sex,” she said. “But I’m also aware that some children feel strongly for a while and then they change their minds. I think it’s a decision that has to be left a while until you are utterly mature and utterly certain you know all the actual consequences.”

Wilson added that her concerns also stem from the fact that “we don’t know” the long-term effects of taking “drugs, hormones or whatever” as part of gender reassignment treatment.

“And the whole idea of having major surgery ... if you’re a young child it’s not a question of just having bits of you lopped off,” she added. “It’s really serious, difficult surgery which can have pretty devastating consequences, I would imagine.”

Wilson’s comments come days after a young adult novel about a transgender teenager by John Boyne was been criticised as “transphobic” by online activists.

The Irish author deleted his Twitter account as a result of the comments he received, many of which focused on the fact that he himself is not transgender, which prompted people to say “this isn’t his story to write”.