Since last December, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling has been embroiled in controversy, drawing the ire of transgender activists around the world.
It all began when she expressed her support on Twitter for Maya Forstater, a British tax expert who lost her job at a think tank over a series of tweets questioning the U.K. government’s plans to allow people to self-identify as another gender.
One tweet with the hashtag #IStandWithMaya made Rowling a prime target for a mob of trans activists.
In an essay posted to her personal website, Rowling admitted that she steered clear of Twitter for months after the Maya tweet “because I knew it was doing nothing good for my mental health” she said. But she recently returned to the social media platform to promote her new children’s book.
Rowling soon found that the controversy was far from over.
“Immediately, activists who clearly believe themselves to be good, kind and progressive people swarmed back into my timeline, assuming a right to police my speech, accuse me of hatred, call me misogynistic slurs …” she said.
What About Women’s Rights?
But the bestselling author refused to back down, once again tweeting her stance on biological sex and gender identity.
“If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” she posted. “I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.
“I refuse 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,” she added in her essay.
Sarah Kramer from Alliance Defending Freedom agreed: “The bottom line is that if we can no longer acknowledge the fact that there are differences between men and women, the years of advances we have made in women’s rights disappear.”
While trans activists have worked hard to “cancel” Rowling, and a number of the “Harry Potter” movie stars have publicly denounced her views, she was surprised to find a multitude of supporters in her corner.
“What I didn’t expect in the aftermath of my cancellation was the avalanche of emails and letters that came showering down upon me,” she said, “the overwhelming majority of which were positive, grateful and supportive.”
“J.K. Rowling is so brave,” Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, tweeted. “Thank you for your boldness in a time when women are often bullied into silence.”
On June 22, four authors represented by The Blair Partnership, Rowling’s literary agency, resigned, accusing the company of declining to issue a public statement of support for transgender rights, but the agency stood behind Rowling.
A spokesperson for The Blair Partnership said: “We support the rights of all of our clients to express their thoughts and beliefs, and we believe in freedom of speech. Publishing and the creative arts are dependent on these things. It is our duty, as an agency to support all of our clients in this fundamental freedom and we do not comment on their individual views.
“We are disappointed by the decision that four clients have taken to part ways with the agency. To reiterate, we believe in freedom of speech for all; these clients have decided to leave because we did not meet their demands to be re-educated to their point of view. We respect their right to pursue what they feel is the correct course of action.”
A Timely Debate
The debate surrounding Rowling’s views on sex and gender is particularly timely following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling to expand the meaning of sex in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation.
“If you get into a situation where our law cannot distinguish between the fact of a man or a woman, and it’s all definitional, it’s all subjective, it’s all political, then you are into a realm where facts no longer exist in our law,” Kim Holms, executive vice president of The Heritage Foundation, said on The Daily Signal Podcast. “You’re in a whole new dimension of law and a whole new dimension of potential coercion that goes far beyond the issue of sexuality.”
“J.K. Rowling has shown more common sense than the United States Supreme Court, recognizing that biology is not bigotry and that a man who identifies as a woman is still not a woman,” Dr. Michael Brown, host of the syndicated “Line of Fire” radio program and president of the FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina, told Decision. “As she and others have said, ‘woman’ is not a costume that you put on. I hope Rowling stands strong and does not bow down to the harassment and pressure.”
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