J.K. Rowling is opening up after receiving backlash over her tweets about the transgender community.
On Saturday, the Harry Potter author came under harsh criticism on Twitter after questioning the phrase “people who menstruate”.
In a new blog post on Wednesday, the 54-year-old is explaining her choice of words and telling her side of the story. She shared:
“This isn’t an easy piece to write, for reasons that will shortly become clear, but I know it’s time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity. I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity.”
She outlines her “interest in trans issues,” which she says came nearly two years prior to an earlier controversial situation — when she sided with a cisgender woman who lost her job for anti-trans tweets just six months ago:
“I knew perfectly well what was going to happen when I supported Maya . I must have been on my fourth or fifth cancellation by then. I expected the threats of violence, to be told I was literally killing trans people with my hate, to be called c**t and bitch and, of course, for my books to be burned, although one particularly abusive man told me he’d composted them. What I didn’t expect in the aftermath of my cancellation was the avalanche of emails and letters that came showering down upon me, the overwhelming majority of which were positive, grateful and supportive.”
Rowling explained why she’s just now speaking out, while many are calling her a “TERF,” AKA Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist”
“But accusations of TERFery have been sufficient to intimidate many people, institutions and organisations I once admired, who’re cowering before the tactics of the playground. ‘They’ll call us transphobic!’ ‘They’ll say I hate trans people!’ What next, they’ll say you’ve got fleas? Speaking as a biological woman, a lot of people in positions of power really need to grow a pair (which is doubtless literally possible, according to the kind of people who argue that clownfish prove humans aren’t a dimorphic species).”
The mother of three notes “five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism, and deciding I need to speak up,” one of which is because she is “a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor,” which she has never previously disclosed:
“This isn’t because I’m ashamed those things happened to me, but because they’re traumatic to revisit and remember. I also feel protective of my daughter from my first marriage. I didn’t want to claim sole ownership of a story that belongs to her, too. However, a short while ago, I asked her how she’d feel if I were publicly honest about that part of my life, and she encouraged me to go ahead.”
The Tony Award recipient was previously married to Jorge Arantes from 1992 until 1995, during which time they welcomed their daughter, Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes, in July 1993. She is now married to Neil Murray, with whom she shares two children: David Gordon Rowling Murray and Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray.
“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. I managed to escape my first violent marriage with some difficulty, but I’m now married to a truly good and principled man, safe and secure in ways I never in a million years expected to be. However, the scars left by violence and sexual assault don’t disappear, no matter how loved you are, and no matter how much money you’ve made. My perennial jumpiness is a family joke – and even I know it’s funny – but I pray my daughters never have the same reasons I do for hating sudden loud noises, or finding people behind me when I haven’t heard them approaching.”
Her other four reasons for being concerned? She detailed:
- “I have a charitable trust that focuses on alleviating social deprivation in Scotland, with a particular emphasis on women and children.”
- “I’m an ex-teacher and the founder of a children’s charity, which gives me an interest in both education and safeguarding.”
- “As a much-banned author, I’m interested in freedom of speech and have publicly defended it, even unto Donald Trump.”
- “I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning.”
In addition to explaining why and how she is an ally, she noted:
“It isn’t enough for women to be trans allies. Women must accept and admit that there is no material difference between trans women and themselves.”
Rowling ended her statement:
“I haven’t written this essay in the hope that anybody will get out a violin for me, not even a teeny-weeny one. I’m extraordinarily fortunate; I’m a survivor, certainly not a victim. I’ve only mentioned my past because, like every other human being on this planet, I have a complex backstory, which shapes my fears, my interests and my opinions. I never forget that inner complexity when I’m creating a fictional character and I certainly never forget it when it comes to trans people. All I’m asking – all I want – is for similar empathy, similar understanding, to be extended to the many millions of women whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without receiving threats and abuse.”
Wow! That is a lot to unpack.
What do U think of what Rowling had to say, y’all?? Let us know (below) in the comments!
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