J.K. Rowling Stands Up for Women’s Rights and Supports Lesbians

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J.K. Rowling has come out in support of women’s rights. The Harry Potter author Tweeted her thoughts on sex, gender, and sexuality.

Hitting back at allegations of transphobia, she went on to say that “the idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is a nonsense.

“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”

Rowling’s thread generated controversy, including threats of rape and murder. Many described raping, harming and even murdering JK Rowling as well as all women who share her beliefs. Many were specifically directed at lesbians, and mentioned Rowling’s support for same-sex attracted individuals as proof that she should be canceled, harmed or murdered.

Among her most vocal critics was Daniel Radcliffe, who starred in all eight Harry Potter films. Writing for The Trevor Project, he said “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.”

But J.K. Rowling’s words also found widespread support.

 

And far, from backing down, J.K. Rowling expanded on her thoughts in a heartfelt essay. As a former teacher and founder of a children’s charity, Rowling has an interest in public conversations about gender – both in terms of education and safeguarding issues. This is characteristic of her: J.K. Rowling has consistently used her wealth to promote charitable causes, and has given so much money to charity that she went from being a billionaire to a millionaire.

She’s also involved in a charitable trust to challenge poverty and deprivation in her home country, Scotland. The organization supports female prisoners, as well as the survivors of domestic and sexual abuse – who are overwhelmingly female. Across the world, a third of all women will experience male violence in their lifetimes. And, as J.K. Rowling disclosed, she is one of those women.

“I’ve been in the public eye now for over twenty years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor. This isn’t because I’m ashamed those things happened to me, but because they’re traumatic to revisit and remember… 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.

“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. I have a visceral sense of the terror in which those trans women will have spent their last seconds on earth, because I too have known moments of blind fear when I realised that the only thing keeping me alive was the shaky self-restraint of my attacker.

“So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.”

While outlining her interest in gender discourse, Rowling paid tribute to lesbian vlogger Magdalen Berns:

“Magdalen was an immensely brave young feminist and lesbian who was dying of an aggressive brain tumour. I followed her because I wanted to contact her directly, which I succeeded in doing. However, as Magdalen was a great believer in the importance of biological sex, and didn’t believe lesbians should be called bigots for not dating trans women with penises, dots were joined in the heads of twitter trans activists, and the level of social media abuse increased.”

But this spike of online abuse didn’t deter her. J.K. Rowling went on to question the 4400 percent increase in girls being referred to transition services in the last decade, attributing this dramatic increase in part to misogyny and homophobia:

“I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility. Some say they decided to transition after realising they were same-sex attracted, and that transitioning was partly driven by homophobia, either in society or in their families.”

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