JKR’s Claims Part 10: Fear and Conclusion

A collage of trans people murdered for being trans. They all had hopes and dreams

Recently JK Rowling, author of Harry Potter, tweeted some transphobic statements and dogwhistles on Twitter that I have addressed here. After a few days silence she wrote a lengthy post trying to justify her position on her website. This is the final part of my series addressing the claims in her piece. You can see the full thing here.

Fear

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.

In 11 countries it is against the law and punishable by the death penalty to be a trans person. In the USA in 43 states it is still considered a valid legal defence to murder a trans person if you found yourself attracted to them (yes seriously). Right now in the USA they are debating whether it’s legal to fire someone for being trans in the top court in the land (Edit: thankfully the Supreme Court voted to make it illegal to fire someone for being LGBT). Over half of the trans people I know personally have lost jobs because of being trans, though usually in that subtle “sure you used to be the top employee every month for the last 5 years, and this is nothing to do with you being trans, but we are downsizing one month after you have come out and only you are being asked to leave” kind of way. I’ve talked to trans people who have been beaten to the verge of death, who have been permanently mutilated, who have been raped by their own family, who have had to flee their countries and all kinds of other horrific abuses. I know people who are trans and no one in their life knows because they need to keep it a secret for their safety. I, a very privileged person, have personally been doxxed and received countless threats of violence just for standing up to transphobia.

Countless trans people have messaged me to say they’re terrified of the state of trans acceptance in the UK. New Zealand has already accepted an asylum request from a British trans woman over it. Almost every trans person I speak to fears for their future, on top of the baseline fear of transphobia that all trans people deal with. The general mood in the trans community after JKR’s letter was one of utter exhaustion and fear.

I do have sympathy for people who maybe said something clumsy about trans people on social media without thinking and received an over the top backlash. I go out of my way to be forgiving and ready for dialogue. But I find any comment about how those calling to remove trans rights are feeling scared of backlash tone deaf, unempathetic and even manipulative. As if trans people across the entire country aren’t utterly terrified of losing the freedoms they have today. If you have a heinous view you should expect backlash when you express it.

It takes far more guts to stand up against a multi-millionaire, people who want to take your rights away, and irrational prejudice than it does to “stand up” to one of the most marginalised minorities in the country.

Conclusion

It is very clear that JKR has entirely bought into the “Gender Critical” worldview. This isn’t someone who has innocently aired an ignorant position. It also is clearly not from someone who has spent any time talking to or being around trans people. Gender Critical is a rabbit hole, it could be described as a conspiracy theory and is often described by ex-members as “cult-like”. From talking to ex-Gender Critical people it will be at best 2 or 3 years before she is able to snap out of it, though I personally suspect that she won’t ever change her mind even in the face of evidence. I don’t expect her to read or even see this article. I don’t expect any Gender Critical person to actually engage with this article, most will have read her post and recognised it as The Gender Critical View, and will be primed to instantly disregard anything that disagrees with it. My hope is to put the counter information out there. Trans people are outnumbered and outgunned — JKR had nearly as many Twitter followers as there are trans people on earth, and probably more money than all the trans people in the UK combined — the best we can hope for is to put the facts out there.

So why am I doing this? Why respond to this kind of thing? I’m doing it because I’m terrified for the future of my friends and I, and I feel I have to do something. We are desperate.

Huge thanks to the following for helping me with this article
- Jen Hennings
- Jasmine Joséphine Sakura-Rose
- Sinéad Naoimh
- Christina Grimwade

Addendum

Since the first draft of this response, and in the same week that JKR wrote her piece, there have been two huge and harrowing pieces of news.

The USA has made it so that healthcare providers, doctors and insurance companies can choose to just not treat trans people (and LGBT people and women wanting reproductive freedom). In the past this has lead to a situations like the story of Tyra Hunter who was a trans woman who was injured in a car crash and died solely because healthcare providers refused to help her because she was trans. Many of my friends are now without healthcare at all because of how they were born, even for unrelated conditions.

The UK, my home, has announced that they are probably planning to try and ban trans women from using the women’s facilities that they use today, and have done their whole lives without issue. This will ruin tens of thousands of people’s lives including my own, and put trans people and cis women in danger for demonstrably no gain. There is no evidence that trans women using the women’s facilities has caused any issues in any of the countries where they are legally allowed to do so, including the UK, Ireland and various American states.

I cannot express the horror that my friends and I are experiencing. I cannot stop crying.

Full post | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

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Katy Montgomerie

Katy is a feminist, LGBT rights advocate, atheist, metalhead, insect enthusiast and trans woman