I have read the essay by JK Rowling (JKR) again. I feel it is unfortunate that someone with her platform of fame, wealth and following has used her position to set out her views and spread misinformation without supporting evidence.
JKR has become the victim of hate abuse for she says “simply speaking the truth”. I do not condone abuse from whichever side of the debate.. The only way for these intricate issues to be resolved is by grown up debate and education, not by mudslinging and hurling abuse at one another.
JKR supported Maya Forstater who believes that people are defined by their biological sex at birth and that biological sex is the ultimate factor in life. This is the stand for which she supported Maya and which was subsequently not supported by the Judge. Later JKR supported Magdalen Berns who also believed in the biological sex definition and for which she claims she has become the victim of hate simply for speaking the truth.
Trans people do not erase sex or deny sex assigned at birth. It is a scientific fact what DNA and chromosomes you have. Trans people do not think that sex does not exist. They do not deny the identity of sex and that their sex at birth will control how their bodies develop. Although Transgender people acknowledge their sex, sex and gender are two different things. Gender is how the person identifies and then take steps to transition to make their body reflect their gender identify. If the concept of sex was not accepted there would be no need to transition to match your identity.
One of the terms JKR objects to is that of TERF. An acronym for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism. Trans Exclusion, i.e. trans women are not women. TERF has gained a negative connotation in the trans community as it discriminates against Trans women by saying that feminism is only for Cis women.
As I have already mentioned JKR supported Magdalen Berns. Magdalen Berns is a TERF who JKR describes as a brave young feminist and lesbian, who was tragically terminally ill. JKR supported her as she believed in the biological sex definition. JKR also supports Magdalen’s belief that lesbians should not be called bigots for not dating transwomen with dicks. So far as I am aware nobody is dictating who anyone has to date.
Unfortunately, Magdalen goes further in that she regards trans women as men with a sexual perversion having previously tweeted “You f*cking blackfaced actors. You aren’t women. You are men who get sexual kicks from being treated like women f*ck you and your dirty f*cking perversions Our oppression isn’t a fetish you pathetic f*cking sick f*ckers”. This is highly offensive to Trans gender women who are not just dressing up or are fetishists and is totally unacceptable.
JKR says dots were joined in the heads of trans activists. It is hardly surprising that someone supporting a person with such views caused distress in the trans community. The fact that JKR is supporting such people is why she has been seen as being transphobic by the company she keeps despite her claims of empathy with as well as knowing and being friends with trans people.
Nonetheless her views are confusing in that although she states she has empathy for and supports Trans women, describing them as among the most vulnerable in the community, and that she would march with them if they were being discriminated on the basis of being trans, she does not appear to recognise that is why exactly why Trans people are discriminated against. Simply for existing, a contradiction that just does not make sense.
Similarly the way she links violence by Cis men towards Cis women and the activity of misogynistic men as a sexual predators, identifying in particular people such as Donald Trump, to Trans women is really negative making links this with Trans women being men in dresses. From this base she draws the conclusion that Cis women need safe sex spaces to protect them from the risk of being assaulted. There is no evidence that since transgender women gained the right to enter womens’ safe spaces there has been an increase of incidents of such assaults nor does she provide any. It feels like fear mongering.
JKR also cites her own sexual assault and being the recipient of domestic violence abuse as the need for women to have safe spaces in shelters. This is absolutely true for all women not just Cis women. JKR has said that Trans women are often more at risk of such violence and are in need of protection and a safe space. The abuse she suffered was at the hand of her former husband, a CIS man. There is no connection to any risk being from a Trans person.
It is disappointing that JKR claims to have substantial support from Cis women who work in the field of gender dysphoria supporting her views. However she does not give any actual evidence other than this sweeping generalisation which lacks credence. If the people to whom she refers carry weight in this field then surely such evidence would be more worthy of consideration if their roles and qualifications were disclosed.
JKR spends quite some time suggesting being trans is a fad or phase again projecting her personal experience of being a tomboy and her struggles with growing up with amongst other things OCD. In her own case she says it would have been tempting to have transitioned to become the son her father had openly said he would have preferred.
She implies thatTrans people and young Cis women in particular do not know their own minds and are too easily influenced to escape from realities of growing up as a woman and that they do not know their own minds. In my experience people do not transition as a result of a fad. It is a serious undertaking which risks the person losing everything, family, friends, work, yet the need to transition, to align your body with your gender is such that no matter the risk it is inevitable and something that comes deep within ones being.
I do not believe anyone is suggesting that JKR is not allowed to cite her own personal history. However in her essay she has drawn conclusions which suggest that the whole trans community are a cause for concern and that Cis women need safe spaces to protect them from Trans women. This is needlessly causing fear and hurt which has been not supported by hard evidence. There will always be and always have been Cis men who will cause harm to women and Trans women who may or may not cross dress to perpetrate their assaults. All women both Cis and Trans are entitled to the basic human rights to protect themselves and their access to safe spaces.