Rowling should save the fiction for Harry Potter. She believes and promotes a substantial number of falsehoods about trans people.
|via Lefteris Pitarakis, Associated Press|
J.K. Rowling continues to feel that she must defend some of her views regarding transgender women. In that regard she has written an essay to address the issue. Throughout this controversy, Rowling has claimed that she is an ally.
Oftentimes offensiveness is not determined by the speaker. Rather, it is the reaction of the listener that informs us. In the case of J.K. Rowling, it is up to LGBTQ people to decide if her views are bigoted. Rowling’s reaction has been to write something equivalent to: “some of my best friends are trans.” Ms. Rowling isn’t listening and has shown no desire to do so.
Ms. Rowling should also consider how her words are heard and used by the religious right to marginalize transgender women. According to Katrina Trinko (one of Ryan T. Anderson’s acolytes at Heritage Foundation):
J.K. Rowling Doubles Down, Exposes Misogyny of the Woke. No need to quote from the text but she uses the word “woke” three more times. Ugh.
I would remind Rowling that those are the same religious whack jobs who are vehemently opposed to children reading the Harry Potter series because they take witchcraft seriously.
Rowling’s misstatements in the essay do not help her cause.
For people who don’t know: last December I tweeted my support for Maya Forstater, a tax specialist who’d lost her job for what were deemed ‘transphobic’ tweets. She took her case to an employment tribunal, asking the judge to rule on whether a philosophical belief that sex is determined by biology is protected in law. Judge Tayler ruled that it wasn’t.
Forstater’s view was that transgender women are not women. There is more to this than the tweets. She has claimed that transgender accommodations are “like forcing Jewish people to eat pork.” Moreover, this has nothing to do with Forstater’s repugnant beliefs. Rowling uses an inclusive statement referring to “a philosophical belief that sex is determined by biology.”
That’s not it at all. Ms. Forstater’s expressions are exclusionary. Forstater asserts that biology is determinant and that gender is irrelevant.
Furthermore, this has less to to with a philosophy than conduct in the workplace. According to the judge:
Ms Forstater was “absolutist” in her view, he concluded in a 26-page judgment.
“It is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.”
“The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”
Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019
Rowling was, again, disingenuous. No one claims that sex is not real and that is not the issue. Forstater’s contract was not renewed because Forstater’s stated views have, or could have, created a toxic workplace. Respect requires respect.
Forstater might feel that a transgender person is really their natal sex. However, in polite society, that gender diverse individual deserves to be addressed as he or she chooses to be addressed. It is not up to Ms. Forstater to determine.
Furthermore, the gratuitous #ThisIsNotADrill in Rowling’s tweet suggests an extreme level of peril. It suggests that Rowling not only supports Forstater, she agrees with Forstater.
Poor persecuted Joanne
After describing how much research she has done regarding transgender people:
All the time I’ve been researching and learning, accusations and threats from trans activists have been bubbling in my Twitter timeline. This was initially triggered by a ‘like’. When I started taking an interest in gender identity and transgender matters, I began screenshotting comments that interested me, as a way of reminding myself what I might want to research later. On one occasion, I absent-mindedly ‘liked’ instead of screenshotting. That single ‘like’ was deemed evidence of wrongthink, and a persistent low level of harassment began.
Aside from the strained explanation, none of the above has anything to do with the controversy that she created. Perhaps I am naive or social media incompetent (actually I am social media incompetent) but I have never kept track of who assigns a “like” to, say, one of Trump’s moronic tweets.
Months later, I compounded my accidental ‘like’ crime by following Magdalen Berns on Twitter. Magdalen was an immensely brave young feminist and lesbian who was dying of an aggressive brain tumour. …
At the risk of looking very stupid, I did not think that people were interested in who follows whom. I follow some very odious people. That seems an unlikely source of displeasure.
We are still at “poor Joanne”
I mention all this only to explain that I knew perfectly well what was going to happen when I supported Maya. I must have been on my fourth or fifth cancellation by then. I expected the threats of violence, to be told I was literally killing trans people with my hate, to be called cunt and bitch and, of course, for my books to be burned, although one particularly abusive man told me he’d composted them.
J.K. is just so brave. None of that has a damned thing to do with her offensiveness. If Tony Perkins or Ryan T. Anderson did this it barely gets a second glance. It is what is expected of them. Rowling doesn’t seem to get that she has disappointed so many loyal fans (I am not one of them by the way). She clearly doesn’t understand why people are offended. Listening is required first. She has not listened.
Rowling has displayed a lack of understanding and a lack of empathy. Trans people are vulnerable to begin with and they are under constant attack. Adding to the prejudice against them is shameful. Rowling is being shamed and rightly so.
What I didn’t expect in the aftermath of my cancellation was the avalanche of emails and letters that came showering down upon me, the overwhelming majority of which were positive, grateful and supportive. They came from a cross-section of kind, empathetic and intelligent people, some of them working in fields dealing with gender dysphoria and trans people, who’re all deeply concerned about the way a socio-political concept is influencing politics, medical practice and safeguarding. They’re worried about the dangers to young people, gay people and about the erosion of women’s and girl’s rights. Above all, they’re worried about a climate of fear that serves nobody – least of all trans youth – well.
And I say “bullshit!” Anyone working “in fields dealing with gender dysphoria and trans people” is horrified that someone with a large megaphone is working against the interests of trans people, particularly trans youth.
That “climate of fear” BS that she refers to is self-serving nonsense. Those who are fearful want license to treat trans people like subhumans and society is telling them otherwise.
If Rowling’s supporters are worried about dangers to gay people, then their notion of danger is likely to be found in other than the interests of gay people. Those tend to be individuals who consider that the discrediting of conversion therapy poses a danger to gay people.
Look at that quote again (four paragraphs above). Rowling is again claiming that trans females pose a threat to cisgender females. That is rank bigotry worthy of a religious crackpot or a TERF. She will do that again and again as you will see.
Rowling goes off for three or four lengthy paragraphs about the discomfort of being labeled a TERF. Talk about shallow! Ms. Rowling seems incapable of appreciating that this is not about her. She is demonstrating that she has no interest in really understanding the negative reaction she has created.
Rowling is a very wealthy and famous author of fiction. Many transgender people do not know where their next meal is coming from. Many live in poverty. This is not about Joanne Rowling.
Rowling is unwilling to accept responsibility for her actions. Her detractors are mean, evil people out to undermine womanhood.
…I’ve got five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism, and deciding I need to speak up.
Firstly, I have a charitable trust that focuses on alleviating social deprivation in Scotland, with a particular emphasis on women and children. Among other things, my trust supports projects for female prisoners and for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. I also fund medical research into MS, a disease that behaves very differently in men and women. It’s been clear to me for a while that the new trans activism is having (or is likely to have, if all its demands are met) a significant impact on many of the causes I support, because it’s pushing to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender.
Where she chooses to spend her money has nothing to do with transgender people. One could say that there is a legitimate issue surrounding the treatment of incarcerated transgender women. Rowling prefers to pass it off in the abstract.
Then Rowling is asserting that recognizing gender as prevailing for the 0.5% of the population that is acutely gender incongruent is a threat to MS research. I have come to realize that this woman will say anything in defense of her abject stupidity.
I will take Rowling at her word that MS affects men and women differently. What the hell does that have to do with the fact that some people are transgender? Are they to be sorry that they exist?
The second reason is that I’m an ex-teacher and the founder of a children’s charity, which gives me an interest in both education and safeguarding. Like many others, I have deep concerns about the effect the trans rights movement is having on both.
Another abstraction. Neither education nor a children’s charity are in any way affected by accepting the overwhelming consensus of medical science. What is she talking about? Does Rowling want to immerse herself in bathroom wars?
The third is that, as a much-banned author, I’m interested in freedom of speech and have publicly defended it, even unto Donald Trump.
Bless her heart. I suppose that requiring people to not misgender trans people in the workplace somehow compromises Rowling’s freedom of speech. You cannot call me a “kike” in the workplace either without facing consequences.
The fourth is where things start to get truly personal. I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility. Some say they decided to transition after realising they were same-sex attracted, and that transitioning was partly driven by homophobia, either in society or in their families.
She does not support with facts either the supposed “explosion” of transitioners or the “increasing numbers” of people who want to detransition. Most detransitioners do so because of family pressure. “Same-sex attracted” is usually religious jargon.
Yes, hormones have consequences. Rowling is in no position to substitute her judgment for that of clinicians, patients and parents.
The last sentence is bizarre. I have no idea, whatsoever, where she is getting the idea that people become transgender because of homophobia. Perhaps she actually believes the bullshit emanating from those anonymous, religious, trans-denial websites.
In no way does any of the above license anti-transgender bigotry. Rowling’s concerns are unfounded. She needs to realize that she is posing what should be questions that should be addressed to knowledgeable people. Instead she is providing answers absent the knowledge to do so.
The UK has experienced a 4400% increase in girls being referred for transitioning treatment. Autistic girls are hugely overrepresented in their numbers.
The facts as I know them are this: In 2009/10 in the UK a total of 40 girls were referred by doctors to gender specialists. By 2017/18 that number had increased to 1,806. Referrals for boys rose from 57 to 713 in the same period.
If Rowling would ask questions, she would get useful answers. Instead she is regurgitating conservative Christian garble.
The biggest driver is the fact that, in 2009/2010, clinicians were still trying to prevent children from transitioning on the premise that doing so would somehow prevent them from ever becoming transgender.
That has changed due to the fact that it did not work. There were just as many transgender people in the end except for the fact that so many, as teems either attempted or committed suicide. A referral, by the way is just an evaluation. Kids in severe distress are transitioning earlier and the research supports this approach.
Autism? Where on earth did she get that from? There is no known scientifically valid link between gender dysphoria and autism. Rowling is just repeating conservative Christian talking points while lacking sufficient curiosity to validate them. Among those talking points regurgitated is this:
The autism mythology came into existence in order to suggest that transgender people would go away if they were treated for autism. It has no basis in science.
The same phenomenon has been seen in the US. In 2018, American physician and researcher Lisa Littman set out to explore it. …
Read the polemic to understand how Littman supposedly became a victim of political correctness rather than shoddy science.
Publishers of the study at PLOS One had to make a decision to either withdraw the study or correct it. They chose to issue a correction because doing so invalidated the study due, in part, to the uncontrolled solicitation of participants from anonymous trans-denial websites. Rowling would know that if she bothered to find out.
The Littman-as-victim BS goes on for several paragraphs.
Save the fiction for Harry Potter
The writings of young trans men reveal a group of notably sensitive and clever people. The more of their accounts of gender dysphoria I’ve read, with their insightful descriptions of anxiety, dissociation, eating disorders, self-harm and self-hatred, the more I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition. … I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred.
People are not persuaded to transition. Gender dysphoria is not contagious and it cannot be solicited. The message that Rowling is trying to convey is that people are transgender because they choose to be.
Comorbidity is another religious myth. People do not become transgender to mitigate an eating disorder. Some people have eating disorders because they are gender incongruent.
When I read about the theory of gender identity, I remember how mentally sexless I felt in youth.
“Gender theory” is Vatican-speak. I do not know what religion Rowling is (probably CofE). However, gender is a theory in the same way that gravity remains a theory. Furthermore this has nothing to do with her. How
Rowling felt as a youth is irrelevant.
This is about treating transgender people with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Period.
Through this experience Rowling has learned nothing
I want to be very clear here: I know transition will be a solution for some gender dysphoric people, although I’m also aware through extensive research that studies have consistently shown that between 60-90% of gender dysphoric teens will grow out of their dysphoria. …
That, too, is irrelevant and another anti-trans talking point from people who have a problem with Genesis 1:27.
It is true that about 75% of teens who feel some sense of gender incongruency will grow out of it. However, those kids never transition in the first place.
The persistence of gender dysphoria is directly related to its severity. Severe distress causes adolescents to transition. Less severe discomfort can be alleviated with growth.
According to the CDC about 2% of kids have those feelings of a conflict between sex and gender. Yet, only about 0.5% of kids are transgender (which is how I arrived at the 75% figure).
I have skipped over about seven lengthy paragraphs of irrelevant “Me” text to arrive at:
So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman …
There we go again. People will pretend to be trans women to take advantage of cis women. Has that ever happened? If she wants trans women to be safe then she should stop claiming that they pose a threat to cis women. Nothing threatens the safety of trans women so much as this kind of rhetoric.
Huge numbers of women are justifiably terrified by the trans activists; I know this because so many have got in touch with me to tell their stories. They’re afraid of doxxing, of losing their jobs or their livelihoods, and of violence.
Really? Is it really that onerous to be required at work not to misgender the miniscule number of coworkers who are transgender? Is that really so terrible to have to do?
Do we really have to conform acceptable workplace decorum to the paranoia of those women? If they are paranoid then they must be profoundly determined to be offensive.
All I’m asking – all I want – is for similar empathy, similar understanding, to be extended to the many millions of women whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without receiving threats and abuse.
No! What someone with no empathy is asking is for people to accept transphobic mythology which has no real connection to the truth.
The saddest thing about all of this is that J.K. Rowling has learned nothing. Instead of writing intellectually dishonest prose she should be listening first. That requires asking questions. Then one avoids not knowing what one does not know.
If Rowling asked good questions she would know more about Lisa Littman. She might understand why referrals to gender specialists have increased. She might know why the percentage of teens who grow out of the condition is irrelevant. She might even know that transgender women pose no peril to cisgender women.
Rowling might even understand why people become transgender in the first place. She might also understand the gender spectrum and why — according to science — it is a separate construct from natal sex.
But aside from replacing mythology with facts Rowling has made no effort whatsoever to understand what it is like to be transgender or what it is like to grow up transgender or to be the parent of a transgender kid. That effort and understanding is required for Rowling to develop the empathy that she sorely lacks.
In the above I have not addressed massive amounts of sanctimonious or self-serving text. If one takes that text into consideration it becomes abundantly clear that Rowling has a narcissistic streak.