JK Rowling created one of the most successful, enduring and beloved franchises of all time, but it’s still problematic AF. For some reason, gender politics is largely lost on the Harry Potter author, who apparently has made protesting trans rights one of his sacred duties. As she continues her frequent Twitter tirades, it begs the question: why is this the hill to die in? We’ll probably never know the answer to that question, but what we do know is that JK Rowling is a proud TERF (trans-exclusive radical feminist) – she wears the badge like it’s the Gryffindor house colors. . Specifically, Rowling is hyper-concerned about trans people being allowed in women-only spaces, and over the weekend she addressed her criticisms of the new reforms being discussed in Scotland.
Rowling tweeted last Saturday about proposed amendments to the country’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill. The changes would introduce what is colloquially known as “self-identification”, allowing trans people to legally identify without having to show psychiatric or medical reports. Gender self-identification is the law in many countries and aims to simplify gender transition. the bill’s website states that the changes would ensure that “applicants will be required to live in their acquired sex for at least three months, with a cooling-off period of an additional three months before a certificate is granted”. It also makes it a criminal offense of up to two years imprisonment for “plaintiffs who make a false statutory declaration”.
For Rowling, however, to dignify trans people with the right to identify without the permission of others is just too generous. Instead, she paints the bill as a way for sexual predators to gain access to women-only spaces like trauma centers and prisons for the express purpose of abusing people. Rowling retweeted an unverified claim that in self-identification areas, “men identify themselves to female sexual assault recovery services. Say no and they’ll take you to the Human Rights Tribunal. Rowling added: “The law [Nicola Sturgeon is] trying to cross into Scotland will hurt the most vulnerable women in society: those seeking help after male violence/rape and women in prison. Rowling has been tweeting nonsensical criticism on the matter since Christmas, posted last december“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. The penised individual who raped you is a woman.
What Rowling doesn’t seem to understand is that her position implies that trans people are supernaturally inclined to be predators – a dangerous accusation to level against a community of people who are routinely disenfranchised and suffer statistically high rates of higher levels of violence for their identity. UCLA reported last year that “transgender people are four times more likely than cisgender people to be victims of violent crime”. Many places even have “shemale panicdefense precedents, in which abusers used their fear of trans people as an excuse to assault or kill them. Members of the trans community are just as vulnerable as the women that Rowling is so adamant about protecting, and yet she continues to pit them against each other.
All JK Rowling had to do was get rich and be cool. She could be a mysteriously deprived billionaire, and we would allow it. She might be a little bitchy in public, and we’d say “good.” But it’s bizarre, unfortunate, and above all incredibly harmful that she chose to be a public TERF instead. His views perpetuate hatred and violence, and that is not acceptable. Women need to be protected, but trans people too.