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“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling torched critics of her “trans-exclusionary radical feminism” on social media over the weekend, after a member of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party issued a tepid apology for accusing Rowling of weaponizing her history of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle apologized to Rowling on Twitter Sunday without tagging her directly, and after claiming, in a lengthy op-ed for a British newspaper, that Rowling was using her history of sexual assault — a history she revealed in detail in a heavily personal essay published last week — as a “justification” for “discriminating” against transgender individuals.
In the piece, Rowling says she is “a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor” and that she stands up for women’s rights, even in the face of pushback from transgender activists, because she believes women-only spaces and women’s safety are under direct attack from efforts to erase the concept of gender.
Rowling said she cares about the issue “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 also claims that she struggled with her own femininity as a result of abuse and that she may have tried to transition out of guilt, had she been born several decades later: “The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge. I struggled with severe OCD as a teenager. If I’d found community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment, I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred.”
She then torched critics of her “transphobia,” calling them victims of “groupthink” who put women at risk.
“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 a simple truth,” Rowling added.
After being attacked by Russel-Moyle for the essay, Rowling took to Twitter to again torch her critics, openly accusing those who called her “transphobic” of imperilling the achievements of feminism and minimizing the needs of women.
She even compared them to so-called “men’s rights activists” who openly deny gender equality.
“When so-called leftists like @lloyd_rm demand that we give up our hard-won sex-based rights, they align themselves squarely with men’s rights activists. To both groups, female trauma is white noise, an irrelevance, or else exaggerated or invented,” Rowling tweeted.
She even called Russel-Moyle sexist: “Andrea Dworkin wrote: ‘Men often react to women’s words—speaking and writing—as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence.’ It isn’t hateful for women [to] speak about their own experiences, nor do they deserve shaming for doing so.”
Rowling has been a target of ire for weeks after speaking out against the elimination of “gender,” and there have been campaigns to remove Rowling’s works from store shelves, and to have her fired from her publisher and literary agency. Fortunately for Rowling, her contributions are too great for corporations to simply “cancel” her or declare her off-limits as a production partner.
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