'I refuse to bow down': J.K. Rowling defends her opposition to transgender ideology

Author is 'worried about the new trans activism.'

Published: June 11, 2020 4:13pm

Updated: June 11, 2020 6:27pm

J.K. Rowling – the multimillionaire author known for writing the perpetually popular "Harry Potter" series of novels – penned an essay this week defending her opposition to transgender ideology, claiming that the "deeply misogynistic and regressive" movement is harming young men and women and making women less safe.

Rowling generated significant backlash last year when she tweeted that "sex is real," a noted rebuke of transgender ideology from a popular public figure.

Transgenderism posits that men and women can "identify" as the opposite sex if they feel strongly enough about it, a position that few in any celebrities have challenged as aggressively and publicly as Rowling. 

Rowling again came out against transgenderism in a series of tweets last week, starting with criticism of a news article that referred to "people who menstruate," a term of art LGBT activists use to avoid referring to women. 

"‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people," Rowling wrote sarcastically. "Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

After receiving further backlash over her tweets, Rowling posted a lengthy essay on her website explaining her opposition to transgender ideology. 

Claiming that transgender activism is "pushing to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender," Rowling wrote that she is "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."

Rowling has been criticized by numerous public figures and commentators for her remarks, among them the stars of the feature films made from her books. Emma Watson, who played the witch Hermione Granger in the film series, wrote on Twitter yesterday that "trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are." 

Daniel Radcliffe, meanwhile—who played the titular character in the series—wrote in an essay at the pro-LGBT Trevor Project: "Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I."

Rowling argued pointedly against those claims in her essay. 

"[A]s many women have said before me," she wrote, "‘woman’ is not a costume. ‘Woman’ is not an idea in a man’s head. ‘Woman’ is not a pink brain, a liking for Jimmy Choos or any of the other sexist ideas now somehow touted as progressive."

"Moreover, the ‘inclusive’ language that calls female people ‘menstruators’ and ‘people with vulvas’ strikes many women as dehumanising and demeaning."

Rowling said she "refuse[s] 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."

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