JK Rowling responds to criticism over transgender comments

The Editors
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From Harper's BAZAAR

JK Rowling has responded to criticism of recent comments that she made regarding the transgender community.

In a 3,600-word statement, the author said her feelings about trans issues stemmed from her experiences of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Her comments had provoked a heated and angry debate on social media, prompting Harry Potter stars Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe to share messages of support to anyone who identifies as trans.

“I’m mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces,” she wrote.

Rowling posted a series of tweets over the weekend on this subject, including one which read: "If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives."

The author said she was motivated to talk about trans issues after reading about proposed “gender confirmation certificates” in Scotland, which will allow trans people to change sex on their birth certificates based on how they identify and not medical and psychiatric reports. She believes that trans women who haven't undergone hormone therapy or surgical transition should not be allowed to use single-sex spaces.

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“When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth,” she wrote.

She said that the criticism had left her "in a very dark place inside my head, as memories of a serious sexual assault I suffered in my 20s recurred on a loop. That assault happened at a time and in a space where I was vulnerable, and a man capitalised on an opportunity. I couldn’t shut out those memories and I was finding it hard to contain my anger and disappointment about the way I believe my government is playing fast and loose with women’s and girls’ safety.”

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