Dear JK Rowling - What Transphobia Looks Like

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

The world-famous author, Joanne Rowling has recently spoken out about sex and gender identity. Rowling explains her reasoning behind her vocal support for anti-trans movements and the protection of single-sex spaces. She published her thoughts (which is the best way to describe her best attempts at saving what's left of her career) on her website, which you can read here.





As a response to her, but mainly to educate my fellow followers - here is what I would like you all to know:


Before we fully get into it, I would like to point out that JK Rowling says that she has done a lot of research into the field of gender identity and sex - however she doesn't cite any sources, and her 'evidence' has proven to be incorrect and misleading.


I have included links to support some points I have made throughout the article, and linked extra resources at the end of this article.



JK Rowling makes five points explaining why she is so invested in the trans community and doesn't just educate herself and do her own research:



1. Protection of women and children


"Firstly, I have a charitable trust that focuses on alleviating social deprivation in Scotland, with a particular emphasis on women and children. Among other things, my trust supports projects for female prisoners and for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. I also fund medical research into MS, a disease that behaves very differently in men and women. It’s been clear to me for a while that the new trans activism is having (or is likely to have, if all its demands are met) a significant impact on many of the causes I support, because it’s pushing to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender."



Firstly, trans people are in no way shape or form saying that alleviating social deprivation for women and children, as well as supporting female prisoners and survivors of domestic abuse, is not important. Neither are they endangering their protection - so this point is irrelevant.


She also goes on to say that she funds research into Multiple Sclerosis (MS) which does behave differently according to your sex. However, I think she believes that trans individuals are totally rejecting the idea of sex, which is far from the truth. Trans people are aware of their sex, but they also accept their gender identity. When any individual is treated for any condition, their medical records are taken into consideration - this is standard procedure. No trans person would refuse to be treated for a sex-specific diseases in a way that would help them.


Finally, the legal definition of sex has never, and will never change. That is biology. What can change, is the definition of gender. Because sex and gender and exclusive entities.




2. Safeguarding and education of children


"The second reason is that I’m an ex-teacher and the founder of a children’s charity, which gives me an interest in both education and safeguarding. Like many others, I have deep concerns about the effect the trans rights movement is having on both."



Trans people and their allies are, more than most, interested in educating children about gender and sex. Early education would allow for less transphobia as the generation would grow up understanding that being transgender is not a choice - and would understand that trans women are women assigned male at birth.


The point about safeguarding is just manipulative and misleading - everyone is interested in safeguarding our children - but she makes it sound like trans people are the issue (more on this later).




3. Freedom of Speech


"The third is that, as a much-banned author, I’m interested in freedom of speech and have publicly defended it, even unto Donald Trump."



Pop-off, yes you are more than welcome to speak about trans issues, however freedom of speech doesn't means freedom from consequence.




4. Detransitioning and reasons to transition


"The fourth is where things start to get truly personal. 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."



Starting off: she doesn't cite a single thing - so she could have (and so it looks like) mulled these supposed 'facts' out of thin air.

The truth is, the rate of detransitioning is at a rate of 0.5%, which compared to the people who regret plastic surgery (83%) is a tiny fraction*.


Stating that some people decide to transition because of their same-sex attraction to avoid homophobia is a confusing statement to make, as trans individuals experience far more discrimination than LGB individuals and the suicide rates among trans individuals are higher.



5. Personal experience with domestic abuse and sexual assault


"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..."


"I believe the majority of trans-identified 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. Trans women who work in the sex industry, particularly trans women of colour, are at particular risk. 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."


"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."



JK Rowling clearly states that she understands that trans women are at a great risk of experiencing violence.



She also states that any man can identify as a woman and get a gender confirmation certificate (which is not true) - and even if men could go into women's bathrooms, the government have protocols and laws in place to protect women.



Many cis-gendered women, biological women, have been kicked out of single-sex spaces for looking too masculine, which just proves how damaging this system is, not only to trans individuals.



JK Rowling uses an example of an older lady refusing to use Mark and Spencer's changing rooms as they stated that they are allowing anyone who identifies as a women, to use the women's changing room.


"We recognise customers will self-identify and respect their right to choose fitting rooms they feel comfortable in"


Marks and Spencers responded with:

"Our fitting rooms provide secure and private spaces with individual lockable cubicles."


Which comes to show, that women should not feel scared or vulnerable, as no one - man, woman, trans woman, and anyone in between can access your individual, lockable cubicle.



But most importantly, she doesn't mention that the government has laws in place which protect single-sex spaces. Which, have never actually had to be used - they are just there as a precaution for the future.



History is repeating itself... remember segregation? "I have a dream"? When black women were not allowed to use white women's bathrooms because they were afraid that black women would attack white women?

This is exactly what is happening with trans women being denied the use of women's bathrooms and changing rooms.



The aftermath:


Presumably, Rowling intended to have sided with the underdogs - just like how Harry Potter defeated Voldemort. Yet instead, her readers were made to feel unaccepted by an author who inspired young LGBT individuals to be themselves, fight for the good and gave them a world to escape into.



One thing I wish that Rowling remembers, is that with a large voice and platform comes a great responsibility - and pushing these transphobic views onto a large audience of mainly cis gendered individuals only creates more hostility towards the trans community.



(quote I will make later)




Extra Resources:


Jammi Dodger's video: JK Rowling's Anti-Trans Tweets | Trans Guy Reacts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USoIAWVkCvk


Jammi Dodger's video: Responding to JK Rowlings Essay | Is It Anti-Trans?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Avcp-e4bOs&t=2503s


Independent: JK Rowling Criticised over 'transphobic' tweet about menstruation

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/jk-rowling-tweet-women-menstruate-people-transphobia-twitter-a9552866.html


NBC News: J.K. Rowling's Maya Forstater tweets support hostile work environments, not free speech

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/j-k-rowling-s-maya-forstater-tweets-support-hostile-work-ncna1105201





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