Rowling Reveals Sexual Assault as She Explains Trans Comments

'Harry Potter' author delves into her own history with sexual assault, abuse
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2020 1:42 AM CDT
Updated Jun 11, 2020 6:48 AM CDT
JK Rowling Explains Her Trans Comments
In this Nov. 13, 2018 file photo, author J.K. Rowling poses for photographers upon her arrival at the premiere of the film 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald', in London.   (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

JK Rowling published a nearly 4,000-word essay on her website Wednesday explaining her controversial stance on transgender people. In it, she discusses the domestic abuse she experienced in her first marriage and reveals a sexual assault she survived in her twenties, all to illustrate why it's so important to her that women be allowed "single-sex spaces"—without being labeled bigots if they don't want trans women allowed into those spaces. "When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman ... then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth." The essay lists a number of other reasons Rowling is concerned about trans activism—a concern that has garnered her much criticism for a while now (see here and here). More, including some less-than-impressed reactions:

  • The theme of many responses to Rowling's essay? She's "doubling" or even "tripling" down on her already controversial stance on trans rights. BuzzFeed's headline: "JK Rowling Followed Up Her Anti-Trans Tweets With A Full Anti-Trans Essay." The site rounds up quite a few horrified tweets on the subject.

  • The Daily Beast's headline: "JK Rowling Is Trying to Pass Her Transphobia Off as Feminism. Don’t Let Her." Laura Bradley writes that Rowling "cites several debunked and widely disputed talking points that have proven harmful and even dangerous to the trans community," including the idea that women are somehow less safe if trans women are allowed to use the same bathrooms as them. She "paints trans women as aggressors, as invaders to female spaces, and plays into the exact trope transphobes have used for years to justify their abuse."
  • After Daniel Radcliffe aired his disagreement with Rowling's views, other stars from the Harry Potter universe have also weighed in. "Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are," Emma Watson tweeted. Eddie Redmayne, of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, issued a lengthy statement, per CinemaBlend. "I disagree with Jo's comments," it says. "Trans women are women, trans men are men, and non-binary identities are valid."
  • Warner Bros. (which distributed the Harry Potter films) and Universal Parks (which runs Potter-themed amusement parks) also weighed in. Warner Bros. told Variety, "fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world. ... We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people." Universal Parks told the Hollywood Reporter, "Our core values include diversity, inclusion and respect for all our guests, as well as our team members. Our theme parks are places where people and families of all types are welcome to enjoy their time together." Rowling's publishers have yet to respond.
  • ETOnline reports that GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis called Rowling out for having "over and over again done this about trans people specifically," and said her attitude is "festering and creating" a dangerous environment for trans people.
(More JK Rowling stories.)

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