J.K. Rowling has been at the epicenter of a social media storm this week following the Harry Potter author sharing a tirade of anti-trans tweets on Sunday, which many found to be deeply offensive. Today, Rowling returned to the topic, penning a lengthy 3,600 word essay on her website in which she defends her views and makes some personal admissions, including revealing that she’s been the victim of sexual assault in the past.
In the essay, Rowling outlines “five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism,” which leads into her discussion about being a survivor of sexual assault and domestic abuse.
Below is an extract from the essay:
“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.”
“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,” Rowling continued.
“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,”
Needless to say, it’s tragic that Rowling had to suffer this kind of abuse in her past, but her essay has only stoked the fires of the controversy even more. Many feel that it’s only spreading harmful misinformation about trans people and that she’s still calling the validity of trans women as women into question.
Here are just a few tweets responding to Rowling’s words:
If you read JK Rowling’s essay and find yourself being persuaded by it, please read this thread. It takes the point she makes and politely, carefully shows why they’re either absolutely wrong or common misunderstandings about trans lives. https://t.co/rpNhGzSbOI
— Amy Jones (@jimsyjampots) June 10, 2020
I'm FURIOUS with Jo Rowling for re-centering the great conversations we've been having onto her bad bad bad hateful opinion. Dear White Lady, sit down.
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) June 10, 2020
What's disheartening about JK Rowling's stance is that, at the heart of fantasy fiction, there's a delicate discovery of selfhood through magic. Trans and nonbinary people deserve the same freedom to write their own narratives, not dogmatic assertions dictating their identities.
— Eugene Lee Yang (@EugeneLeeYang) June 10, 2020
This essay comes on the same day that Fantastic Beasts leading man Eddie Redmayne released a statement in regards to the writer’s earlier remarks. The Newt Scamander star made it “absolutely clear” that he “disagree[s]” with Rowling’s opinions, decreeing that “respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative.” Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe has likewise offered his own pro-trans statement in criticism of J.K. Rowling and right now, it seems this controversy is not going to go away anytime soon.