JK Rowling doubled down on her trans views, and people have thoughts

jk rowling transgender
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JK Rowling has shared a lengthy essay with her 14 million followers on transgender issues, doubling down on her transphobic views after a fierce backlash.

Last weekend, the Harry Potter author was criticised for tweets she posted discussing biological sex and gender identity. Now Rowling has taken to Twitter again to share the 3600-word blog post in a tweet reading “TERF wars”. Many gave Rowling the label, which stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”.

“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 wrote.

In detailing why she’s “deeply concerned” about the “new trans activism,” Rowling discussed her personal history as a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor.

“I’m mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces,” she wrote.

But JK Rowling then added she empathises with transgender women, who face high levels of sexual abuse and violence.

“If you could come inside my head and understand what I feel when I read about a trans woman dying at the hands of a violent man, you’d find solidarity and kinship,” she wrote.

“I believe the majority of trans-identified [sic] people not only pose zero threat to others, but are vulnerable for all the reasons I’ve outlined.

“Trans people need and deserve protection. Like women, they’re most likely to be killed by sexual partners.”

However Rowling slammed proposed UK reforms allowing trans people to update their sex markers without hormone therapy or surgery.

She suggested the changes would be exploited by predators in bathrooms and changing rooms and jeopardise women’s safety.

“I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe,” she said.

‘Dangerous and discredited myths about transgender people’

But Human Rights Campaign president Sarah McBride told PEOPLE JK Rowling was “doubling down on dangerous and discredited myths around transgender people and trans rights.”

“In painting transgender people, particularly trans women, as caricatures and potentially as threats to the safety of other people, she is reinforcing the very prejudices that are at the heart of the discrimination, and oftentimes the violence, that comes the trans community’s way,” McBride said.

“The United Kingdom has allowed for transgender people to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity for years. There has not been a problem.

“When trans people face discrimination in employment and housing and public spaces, it’s discrimination that’s rooted in the prejudice that transgender people are not who we say we are.

“And that is exactly what J.K. Rowling is reinforcing.”

McBride said Rowling’s stance was disappointing given she had “professed support for inclusivity and equality in other ways.”

“You’d think her use of the same arguments that Donald Trump and far-right extremists in the United States are using would give her pause.”

JK Rowling claims she ‘might have tried’ to transition

In the essay, JK Rowling also discussed transgender youth at length, expressing concern about a “huge explosion” in young people coming out as transgender.

She quoted a psychiatrist who dismisses studies finding trans young people’s mental health improves after receiving gender affirmation and treatment.

One study, published this year in medical journal Pediatrics, found treatment can be life-saving for trans teenagers.

Australian researchers have also found issues like “peer rejection, bullying, issues with school or university, and a lack of family support” are key factors impacting trans young people’s mental health.

Instead, Rowling reflected on her own sense of feeling “mentally sexless” during her adolescence and believes she “could have been persuaded” to transition as a result.

“I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition,” she wrote.

“The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge. I struggled with severe OCD as a teenager.

“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 also invokes people “detransitioning,” which she believes is an “increasing” phenomenon.

But a 2015 survey of nearly 28,000 transgender people by the US’ National Center for Transgender Equality found it was rare, with 8 percent of respondents reporting it.

Sixty-two percent said their detransition was only temporary, with parental pressure the most common reason. Only 0.4 percent reported detransitioning after realising it wasn’t right for them.

And in the UK, less than one percent of 3,398 patients at an NHS Gender Identity Service the UK between 2016 and 2017 experienced transitioned-related regret or had detransitioned.

Again, the most common reason for detransition was a lack of family and community support and experiences of transphobia.

In a statement, LGBTIQ advocacy group GLAAD slammed Rowling’s blog post as “misinformed and dangerous”.

“It seems J.K. is good at only one thing: writing fantasy,” the organisation said.

“[The post] flies in the face of medical and psychological experts and devalues trans people’s accounts of their own lives.

“She is sowing divisiveness in a time when real leaders are driving toward unity.

“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.”

Emma Watson tweets ‘love and respect’ for trans people

After co-star Daniel Radcliffe backed trans rights earlier this week, Harry Potter actress Emma Watson also weighed in, tweeting her support for the trans community.

She also encouraged fans to donate to trans charities for Pride Month.

“Trans people are who they say they are,” she wrote.

[They] deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” she wrote.

“I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”

Fantastic Beasts actor Eddie Redmayne also spoke out against JK Rowling’s views.

“I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid,” he said.

“I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities.

“[It] all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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