Author J.K. Rowling arrives at the RFK Ripple of Hope Awards at New York Hilton Midtown in December 2019 (Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Earlier in December, Police Scotland said it would record rapes and sexual assaults by offenders with a penis as carried out by a woman if they identified as female, regardless of whether they had legally changed gender.
Rowling’s comments on the matter have unsurprisingly drawn the ire of many social media users.
Here is everything you need to know about it.
What has J.K. Rowling said?
In a tweet linking back to an article from The Times, Rowling appeared to suggest the move was Orwellian, referencing George Orwell famed totalitarian novel, 1984.
Making use of ‘doublethink’ - a practice in 1984 by which citizens are made to believe contradictory ideas to stop them thinking rationally - Rowling tweeted: “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman.”
It’s far from the first time that Rowling has come under fire for her ‘controversial’ opinions on trans issues.
She has previously said some women and their families have been “put into a state of fear and distress for no other reason than that they refuse to uncritically accept that the socio-political concept of gender identity should replace that of sex”.
Perhaps most infamously, she criticised the use of the phrase “people who menstruate” in 2020, tweeting that “I’m sure there used to be a word for these people... Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud.”
It was quickly pointed out to the writer that “not all women menstruate, and not all people who menstruate are women”, a response which supporters of Rowling have likened to a “so-called cancel culture” crusade.
How have people responded on social media?
Critics of Rowling and even (now ex) fans of the Harry Potter books responded to the author’s latest inflammatory statements in their droves.
“Great knowing the author of my childhood obsession hates my existence,” wrote one user on Twitter. “Wish i could get that time back to have invested in more inclusive authors seeing as your work was honestly just nostalgia shadowed bigotry.”
“Trans women are not a danger to society,” responded another, “J.K Rowling loves to fuel hate towards a whole group of innocent beautiful people.”
“J.K. Rowling’s new, uh, truth bomb is that women can’t be rapists or sexual assailants,” said another. “I really do hope she finds peace in this lifetime and leaves trans people alone to find our sense of peace, too.”
Will Rowling ever stop ‘speaking out’?
In November 2021, Rowling said she will not stop speaking out after her address was posted online by activists who posed outside her home with “Trans liberation now” signs.
After a trio of trans activists posted an image outside her home where her address could clearly be seen, the writer shared a series of tweets describing her ‘doxxing’ experience.
In the picture shared online, the trio outside the author’s home were holding signs which read “Don’t be a cissy,” “Trans liberation now” and “Trans rights are human rights”.
Rowling wrote: “Last Friday, my family’s address was posted on Twitter by three activist actors who took pictures of themselves in front of our house, carefully positioning themselves to ensure that our address was visible.
“They should have reflected on the fact that I’ve now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them, and I haven’t stopped speaking out.”
Rowling, who also writes crime novels under the pen name Robert Galbraith, thanked Police Scotland for their “kindness and decency” which “made all the difference” to her and her family.
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