JK Rowling hits out at ‘despicable’ former colleagues who distanced themselves over her trans views

JK Rowling has hit out at colleagues who “rushed to distance themselves” from her due to her views on the trans community, often shared on Twitter (now X), describing them and “certain female celebrities” as “despicable”. 

The best-selling author of the Harry Potter series, who has been heavily criticised in recent years due to her controversial views on trans rights, has delved even further into the subject in a new book. 

The book of 30 essays, The Women Who Wouldn’t Wheesht, published on Thursday (30 May), contains writing by JK Rowling, as well “gender-critical” MP Joanna Cherry, and a former prison guard opposing trans women being housed in women’s prisons

In an extract from her essay published in The Times, JK Rowling claimed several former colleagues had condemned her views in public, but secretly emailed her afterwards to “check that we were still friends”. 

“In truth, the condemnation of certain individuals was far less surprising to me than the fact that some of them then emailed me, or sent messages through third parties, to check that we were still friends,” she wrote. 

The author continued: “The thing is, those appalled by my position often fail to grasp how truly despicable I find theirs.

“I’ve listened as certain female celebrities insist that there isn’t the slightest risk to women and girls in allowing any man who self-identifies as a woman to enter single-sex spaces reserved for women, including changing rooms, bathrooms or rape shelters.”

She added that despite receiving a “tsunami of death and rape threats” due to her views, “outing myself as gender-critical” has brought more positives than negatives, and that her only regret is that she “didn’t speak far sooner”. 

Out today! ‘The Women Who Wouldn’t Wheesht’ is a collection of essays from women who’ve been battling for women’s rights in Scotland (including me). pic.twitter.com/BQvjxigwNG

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 30, 2024

Elsewhere in the essay, JK Rowling claimed that her family members and loved ones had “begged” her to keep her views to herself, adding that before she made her “gender-critical” views known, she felt guilt like a “chronic pain” for not speaking. 

The 58-year-old author first became known for her views on the trans community when she wrote on Twitter in support of Maya Forstater, who was engaged in a legal battle with a former employer over her “gender-critical” views.

Six months later, JK Rowling returned to Twitter and posted a series of tweets criticising inclusive language used in an article about period care for “people who menstruate”. She continues to fight against gender-neutral language, for example: satirically describing mother’s day as “birthing parent day”.

Several Harry Potter actors, including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, have since either condemned the author’s views, or been loud in their allyship towards the trans community, with Watson writing on social media that “trans people are who they say they are” and that they “deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned.”

JK Rowling, in response, has said that she “won’t forgive” the pair for speaking up for trans rights.

“Celebs who cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors can save their apologies for traumatised detransitioners and vulnerable women reliant on single-sex spaces,” the author wrote.

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