JK Rowling Denies Claims Her Male Pseudonym Is Connected To Gay Conversion Therapist

by : Lucy Connolly on : 16 Sep 2020 13:59
JK Rowling Denies Claims Her Male Pseudonym Is Connected To Gay Conversion TherapistJK Rowling Denies Claims Her Male Pseudonym Is Connected To Gay Conversion TherapistPA Images

JK Rowling has denied claims her male pseudonym is connected to Robert Galbraith Heath, an anti-LGBTQ+ conversion therapist, saying she wasn’t aware of his existence.

Since 2013, the Harry Potter author has written a number of crime novels under the name Robert Galbraith, leading many to question her true intentions in the wake of her anti-trans viewpoints in recent months.


As Rowling continues to make her problematic stance clear, moving from liking tweets written by trans-exclusionary feminists (TERF) to mocking a headline about ‘people who menstruate’, many have wondered whether she took inspiration for her pen name from the infamous conversion therapist.

JK RowlingJK RowlingPA Images

Galbraith Heath was a mid-20th century psychiatrist who pioneered a range of unethical practices that would later become known as conversion therapy. He experimented with a variety of methods to ‘cure’ gay men, using electroshock treatments in an attempt to change an individual’s sexual orientation.

Because of his controversial history, in recent weeks Rowling has faced intense speculation online as to why she would choose such a name in the first place, with many taking to social media to criticise the author for continuing to write under the pseudonym.


Now, she has spoken out on the matter for the first time, with the author’s rep telling Metro.co.uk, ‘JK Rowling wasn’t aware of Robert Galbraith Heath when choosing the pseudonym for her crime novels. Any assertion that there is a connection is unfounded and untrue.’


Prior to the accusations that she had taken her inspiration for the pseudonym from the psychiatrist, Rowling had claimed she came up with the name in part because of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

In a statement posted on the official Robert Galbraith website at the time, the author said she chose Robert because it is one of her favourite men’s names, adding that Robert F Kennedy is her ‘hero’.

She said the surname Galbraith came about for a ‘slightly odd’ reason though, that being that she ‘really wanted’ to be called Ella Galbraith as a child. ‘I’ve no idea why,’ she added. ‘I don’t even know how I knew that the surname existed, because I can’t remember ever meeting anyone with it.’

JK RowlingJK RowlingPA Images

Rowling’s claim that she has never heard of Galbraith Heath comes just days after she faced criticism yet again for publishing a new book – under the controversial pseudonym – about a ‘transvestite serial killer’.

This isn’t the first time the author has faced backlash over her views on trans people. Just last year, she tweeted her support for Maya Forstater – a woman who lost her job after tweeting ‘Men cannot change into women’ – and even now she continues to tweet problematic content.

So much so that several of Rowling’s Harry Potter alumni have spoken out against her, along with many other high-profile celebrities.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Film and TV, JK Rowling, Now, Trans Rights, Transphobia


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