Trans activists urge Scottish police to arrest JK Rowling over ‘misgendering hate crime’

JK Rowling - Trans activists urge Scottish police to arrest JK Rowling over 'misgendering hate crime'
JK Rowling lives in Edinburgh, where a controversial hate crime law comes into force on April 1 - Getty Images/Karwai Tang
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Trans rights activists are attempting to have JK Rowling arrested by Scottish police over “misgendering” after a complaint was dismissed in England.

Northumbria Police last week confirmed that it did not believe the Harry Potter author had committed a criminal offence by publicly calling India Willoughby, a transgender TV personality, a male.

Willoughby had gone to police claiming Rowling had “definitely committed a crime” by referring to the former Celebrity Big Brother contestant as male.

The 58-year-old former newsreader has vowed to appeal against “their decision not to prosecute” and is to request a review of the decision.

Meanwhile, Willoughby’s supporters claimed to have submitted complaints against Rowling, who lives in Edinburgh, to Police Scotland in the hope that the force will come to a different decision.

In one complaint, published online, a user of X, formerly Twitter, said they had complained to Police Scotland and urged others to do the same.

It alleged that Rowling had “misgendered Ms Willoughby repeatedly with intent to harass her, debase her, dehumanise her” risking inflicting “lasting psychological damage”.

The complaint added: “Rowling’s motive for this attack is unambiguous – it’s because Ms Willoughby is trans.”

India Willoughby
India Willoughby reported JK Rowling to police over 'misgendering' - Getty Images/Dave Benett

Rowling has regularly denied being transphobic, saying she believes people should be able to live their lives as they please.

She has, however, voiced concerns that accepting that trans women are literally women, as trans activists claim, and giving them access to female-only spaces, which she says poses risks to the rights and safety of biological women.

Scotland has a different legal system than England, with a controversial hate crime law, which was passed by MSPs exactly three years ago on Monday, due to come into force on April 1.

In a letter to Holyrood’s criminal justice committee, the Edinburgh-based policy analysis group Murray Blackburn Mackenzie (MBM) raised concerns about implementation of the new law, which creates a new offence of “stirring up hatred” against protected groups, including trans people.

With weeks to go before the law comes into force, necessary legal orders have yet to be laid at Holyrood, raising fears of a lack of scrutiny or clarity about how it will work.

Some campaigners fear the law will be weaponised by trans rights campaigners to dilute freedom of speech.

“Despite a clear promise made in the Parliament, over the three years since the Act was passed, the government has done nothing to engage with those concerned about the impact of the Bill on freedom of expression on questions of sex and gender identity,” MBM said.

“MSPs emphasised the importance of police training, but what’s happening there is still unknown.

“The whole process has been a black box of top-down, closed policy-making, that does not inspire confidence.”

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