J.K. Rowling Doubles Down on Transphobia in International Women’s Day Twitter Rant

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“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling has doubled (tripled? quadrupled?) down on her transphobic comments, this time in regards to the proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill in Scotland, which made headlines days before International Women’s Day on March 8.

The Scottish legislation, under First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, is a planned reform of gender laws that will make it easier for people to legally change gender, including obtaining a gender recognition certification, removing the requirement of a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and allowing trans people to self-identify on legal documents. Under the new rules, to obtain such a certification, people need to live in their acquired gender for at least three months, followed by a further three-month reflection period, before the certificate is to be granted. The age limit for gender recognition will also be reduced to 16 from the current 18.

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Rowling tweeted on March 5, “Multiple women’s groups have presented well-sourced evidence to @NicolaSturgeon’s government about the likely negative consequences of this legislation for women and girls, especially the most vulnerable. All has been ignored. If the legislation is passed and those consequences ensue as a result, the @SNP govt can’t pretend it wasn’t warned.”

Nicola Sturgeon is the First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), and the first woman to hold either position.

Rowling also retweeted the 2018 conviction of a trans woman who allegedly attempted to rape a 10-year-old girl. Rowling called it a “parody.”

Other Scottish groups have criticized the proposed bill for potentially infringing on women’s sex-based rights and access to women-only spaces and services, as Metro UK stated.

Rowling, who identifies as a sexual assault survivor, tweeted on March 8, “Someone please send the Shadow Minister for Equalities a dictionary and a backbone. #HappyInternationalWomensDay” after Shadow Minister of Equalities Anneliese Dodds said there are open interpretations to the term “women,” as The Daily Mail reported.

Rowling clapped back at International Women’s Day itself, “Apparently, under a Labour government, today will become We Who Must Not Be Named Day.”

First Minister Sturgeon said she “fundamentally disagreed” with Rowling’s criticisms while on The World At One on BBC Radio 4, as reported by Metro UK.

“She’s clearly free to express her opinion, as am I, as is everybody. But that’s not what this debate is about,” Sturgeon said. “The legislation was introduced to parliament last week and it will now go through a full legislative process with all the normal parliamentary scrutiny.”

Sturgeon continued, “This is about a process, an existing process, by which people can legally change their gender, and it’s about making that process less traumatic and inhumane for trans people, one of the most stigmatized minorities in our society. It doesn’t give trans people any more rights, doesn’t give trans people one single additional right that they don’t have right now. Nor does it take away from women any of the current existing rights that women have under the Equalities Act.”

Long vocal in her anti-trans views, Rowling previously said that trans people should be defined by their biological sex by arguing that “if sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction” in 2020. Rowling briefly quit Twitter before sharing an essay elaborating on her views and tweeting it out with the caption, “TERF wars.” TERF stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist and is used as a term to describe feminists who are transphobic.

Rowling’s comments led “Harry Potter” cast members including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint to issue statements in June 2020 in support of the trans community. Warner Bros., the studio behind the “Harry Potter” films, later issued a response to Rowling’s stance promoting inclusion.

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