The ‘Harry Potter’ author publishes a post defending herself in response to the backlash for anti-trans tweets.
Following her multiple tweets on the transgender community, J. K. Rowling finally responds in a lengthy post defending herself. The author came under fire, opened up in her new blog post, explaining her comments and detailing her own experience.
J. K. Rowling’s response
“This isn’t an easy piece to write, for reasons that will shortly become clear, but I know it’s time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity,” the writer began in a statement posted on her website Wednesday. “I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity.”
She explains that she first began getting criticized after supporting Maya Forstater, a woman who’d lost her job for what were described as “transphobic” tweets. With that, the author explains, she started doing a great amount of research on the topic.
Rowling has been under hefty criticism about her thoughts on transgender identity from the LGBTQ community. Eddie Redmayne and Daniel Radcliffe have also been a part of that scrutinity.
“I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it,” she said.
The author noted that she has been receiving “accusations and threats from trans activists” on Twitter for years. Including blowback over her support for the researcher Maya Forstater in December.
Five concerns of Rowling
Rowling drew outrage Saturday on Twitter when she criticized an opinion piece published by the website Devex. It is a media platform for the global development community. They used the phrase “people who menstruate.” Rowling implied it should have said “women.”
The famed author continued with another thread speaking about the concept of biological sex. She said she felt compelled to tweet her thoughts about her experience with domestic abuse and sexual assault.
“I stand alongside the brave women and men, gay, straight and trans, who’re standing up for freedom of speech and thought, and for the rights and safety of some of the most vulnerable in our society: young gay kids, fragile teenagers, and women who’re reliant on and wish to retain their single sex spaces,” she said in her post Wednesday.
Rowling said she had stepped back from Twitter. Until recently, when she wanted to share her new children’s book “The Ickabog“. Upon her return, she says she was immediately called a “TERF”. It is an acronym for a trans-exclusionary radical feminist. This is an accusation she says, used to intimidate others. Rowling initially announced her Wednesday statement with a tweet that simply read, “TERF wars.”
In the essay, Rowling then elaborates on the five reasons she is “worried about the new trans activism”. And why she decided to speak out on the matter.
The first reason is her concern for the future of the causes she supports. Many of which have an emphasis on providing support to women and children. The second is her worries about the “trans rights movement’s” impact on education and “safeguarding”. And the third concern is defending freedom of speech.
Her final concerns become more personal, however.
‘The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge’
In explaining her fourth worry, the author expressed concern about what she calls a “huge explosion in young women wishing to transition”. Some of whom, she asserts, later “regret” the move and seek to “detransition”. She even pondered if she would have “tried to transition” in her youth if it were an option. Due to her struggle, with mental health issues and “the sexualised scrutiny and judgement that sets so many girls to war against their bodies in their teens.”
“The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge,” she writes.
“If I’d found community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment, I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred.”
Rowling wrote about her concern that teens experiencing gender dysphoria may transition. Then “grow out of their dysphoria”. She does, however, acknowledge that “transition will be a solution for some gender dysphoric people.”
Rowling laments that society today is in the “most misogynistic period I’ve experienced”. She cites “trans activists who declare that TERFs need punching and re-educating”. She claims that is one of the many reasons this is so.
“Everywhere, women are being told to shut up and sit down, or else,” Rowling writes.
“I’ve read all the arguments about femaleness not residing in the sexed body, and the assertions that biological women don’t have common experiences, and I find them, too, deeply misogynistic and regressive.”
She added, “It isn’t enough for women to be trans allies. Women must accept and admit that there is no material difference between trans women and themselves.”
Her statement echoed the opinion she expressed in her controversial tweets this weekend about sex and gender identity.
‘Trans people need and deserve protection’
In her new statement, she explained why she took issue with that headline:
“The ‘inclusive’ language that calls female people ‘menstruators’ and ‘people with vulvas’ strikes many women as dehumanising and demeaning.”
Redmayne, who starred in two “Fantastic Beast” films of the “Harry Potter prequel series, disagreed with Rowling’s transphobic comments on Twitter. The Oscar-winning actor says that his transgender friends and colleagues are tired. They get the “constant questioning of their identities.”
“Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid,” said Redmayne. He played a transgender woman in the 2015 film “The Danish Girl,” which earned him an Oscar nomination. He joined Radcliffe, who also disapproved of Rowling’s thoughts on transgender identity.
On Monday, Radcliffe published a lengthy essay about Rowling’s tweets on a website for a nonprofit organization. Dedicated to crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ people. He said “transgender women are women.”
“Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I,” the actor said.
In her final point in the essay, Rowling opened up about her experience with domestic abuse and sexual assault, and her “violent” first marriage. A topic she said she has never discussed publicly. She explained, due to that experience, when she learns of “a trans woman dying at the hands of a violent man,” she feels “solidarity and kinship.”
“Trans people need and deserve protection,” Rowling wrote.
She adds, “Like every other domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor I know, I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men.”
‘It seems JK is good at only one thing: writing fantasy’
However, she adds that while she wants trans women to be “safe,” she does not “want to make natal girls and women less safe”.
She appeared to specifically criticize Scottish legislation. That would make it easier for a person to obtain legal recognition of their gender identity, according to the BBC.
Rowling went on to say that while she faces criticism for speaking her mind on the subject. Instead of tweeting “the approved hashtags,” she will not stop speaking out on the current movement.
The LGBTQ organization GLAAD issued a statement in response to Rowling’s essay shortly after it published.
“It seems JK is good at only one thing: writing fantasy. Her misinformed and dangerous missive about transgender people flies in the face of medical and psychological experts and devalues trans people accounts of their own lives,” a GLAAD spokesperson told CBS News.
“And to all the trans and cisgender youth raised on her books who are now loudly speaking up in support of the trans people you know and love, you are the future and we can’t wait to read and watch the beautiful art you will create,”GLAAD spokesperson continued.
The organization also spoke out about Rowling’s initial tweets this weekend on Twitter. Calling her comments “anti-trans” and encouraging its followers to channel their “rightful anger”. They are urging people to supporting organizations that help black trans people.