Letter Opposing J.K. Rowling's Transphobia Signed by 1,500 Publishing Professionals

Amy Mackelden
·2 mins read
Photo credit: TOLGA AKMEN - Getty Images
Photo credit: TOLGA AKMEN - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

More than 1,500 members of the literary community have signed a letter in response to J.K. Rowling's well-documented derogatory views on the trans community. The signatories include world-famous authors such as Jeanette Winterson, Malorie Blackman, and Joanne Harris.

Published on September 30 by The Second Shelf, "A Message from Members of the UK and Irish Publishing Community" described itself as "a message of love and solidarity for the trans and non-binary community." The letter explicitly supports the rights of trans and non-binary people and, as such, stands up to Rowling's recent transphobic tweets and statements.

The Second Shelf's letter continued, "Culture is, and should always be, at the forefront of societal change, and as writers, editors, agents, journalists, and publishing professionals, we recognise the vital role our industry has in advancing and supporting the wellbeing and rights of trans and non-binary people. We stand with you, we hear you, we see you, we accept you, we love you. The world is better for having you in it."

Importantly, The Second Shelf stated, "Non-binary lives are valid, trans women are women, trans men are men, trans rights are human rights.

While Rowling isn't named in the letter, it can be viewed as a response to one published by The Times last month, which saw celebrities and writers publicly show their support for Rowling and call for an end to online abuse. Online abuse against anybody is never acceptable, however, Rowling's seeming refusal to acknowledge the rights of trans people cannot, and should not, be glossed over.

The trans community faces horrific abuse on a daily basis, both online and in real life. One 2019 study of online transphobia found that, out of 10 million social media posts regarding trans issues in the U.S. and U.K., "1.5 million of them were anti-trans," per the BBC. The Human Rights Campaign noted, "fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color—particularly Black transgender women." And many incidents of violence still go unreported.

As a famous author, using an immense social media following to share anti-trans rhetoric is unconscionable. As such, 1,521 writers, editors, and publishing professionals have now signed The Second Shelf's statement, showing public support for the trans community in the face of continued opposition. They join Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint in opposing Rowling's opinions on the subject.

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