Actress and model Jameela Jamil has tweeted in support of giving controversial puberty blockers to trans kids, claiming she knew “loads” of girls in school who took them. Her story was swiftly deemed BS.
Until transgender issues entered mainstream discussion in recent years, few readers had likely heard of “puberty blockers,” drugs sometimes administered off-label to transgender children to buy them time to decide their preferred gender. Mired in political controversy, the drugs’ use in transgender medicine has not been extensively studied, but at least some severe side effects, including brittle bones and malformed genitals, have been reported.
Jameela Jamil is all in favor of these drugs. “Puberty blockers are not permanent,” the actress, model, and former BBC presenter tweeted on Wednesday. “Loads of girls at my school were on them for very early heavy periods. This was in the 90s. I don’t remember hearing the outcry about how dangerous and evil they were then.”
Puberty blockers are not permanent. Loads of girls at my school were on them for very early heavy periods. This was in the 90s. I don’t remember hearing the outcry about how dangerous and evil they were then. Ah… But that’s because they were for cis kids so it was fine eh? 😶
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) April 13, 2021
Jamil claimed that the current outcry against puberty blockers is only happening because transgender teeens are asking for them.
However, commenters quickly cast doubt on Jamil’s claim that “loads of girls” at her school were given these drugs in the 1990s, suggesting that they were instead given birth control pills for heavy periods, a far more common treatment for that problem.
We’re a similar age I think and I don’t know anyone who was on puberty blockers for heavy periods in the 90s? I’m not saying you’re wrong but I went to an all girls school; we shared so much stuff and I don’t know how I missed this? Were they called something else?
— Stacey M A292006 🎽📚 (@stakka79) April 13, 2021
The girls I knew who had heavy periods were prescribed birth control pills, not puberty blockers. (I had heavy periods but didn't want to take birth control pills.) I'm going with a big "sure, Jan" for Jameela's story. https://t.co/9n2WICuLbhpic.twitter.com/TFOLORgGMP
— Sly Fawkes Gender Critical She Devil (@therealcie) April 14, 2021
She is confusing puberty blockers for the birth control pill, which is often prescribed to girls w/ PCOS to help regulate their cycle. Contraceptives are not the same as puberty blockers, which are permanent, & no girls at her school got. Being pro trans doesn’t = license to lie. https://t.co/lUjhmm9Kuj
— Liberal, Not Lefty (@liberalnotlefty) April 14, 2021
Untangling Jamil’s claim is not straightforward, though her story certainly seems highly unlikely, and purely anecdotal. Some puberty-blocking drugs have been around since the 1980s, though they have typically only been given to children who experience ‘precocious puberty’, a condition affecting roughly one in 5,000 kids, based on figures from the US. The first study on their use on transgender children was published in the UK in 2011, and they are not among the treatments recommended for heavy periods.
Jamil is perhaps better known as an activist than an actress, and has campaigned against “body-shaming,” and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as various feminist and climate-related causes. However, she’s been caught out for allegedly lying before, dubiously claiming several times to have been attacked by swarms of bees and to have suffered from various health conditions.
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