JK Rowling has criticized proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill in Scotland.
If passed, the new legislation will simplify how trans people apply to have their gender officially recognised.
However, Rowling believes this bill will “harm the most vulnerable women in society”, who she said are “those seeking help after male violence/rape and incarcerated women”.
The Gender Recognition Reform Bill has been in place with the same rules since 2004. With the new amendments, trans people will no longer have to show medical and psychiatric reports to have their gender recognised.
Its official website reads: “Applicants will be required to live in their acquired gender for a minimum of three months, with a reflection period of a further three months before a certificate is granted.”
The bill also states it is a “criminal offense for applicants to make a false statutory declaration, with a potential punishment of up to two years’ imprisonment”.
On Saturday (5 March), Rowling supported an unverified claim that ”men are self-identifying in to female sexual assault recovery services”, writing on Twitter: “Statistics show that imprisoned women are already far more likely to have been previously abused.”
Her comments divided people, with some expressing the same belief. However, many criticized Rowling, with one person accusing her of “targeting hate against a protected category”.
TV personality India Willoughby wrote: “Why do you keep suggesting trans people are predators / a danger to society @jk_rowling ? Twenty countries now have Self ID – not ONE has been seen an epidemic of attacks by ‘men dressed as women.”
Rowling previously faced fierce criticism in June 2020 after calling out an article’s use of the phrase “people who menstruate”.
“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people,” she wrote, stating: “Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
While there was a contingent of Twitter users who supported Rowling for her tweet, there were plenty – including numerous celebrities – who criticized her comment as “anti-trans” and “transphobic”, arguing that transgender, non-binary and non-gender conforming people can also menstruate.
Rowling later added that she supports transgender rights and took issue with being labeled a “TERF”, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
In an essay, the author addressed the backlash and revealed her experiences of surviving alleged domestic abuse and sexual assault.
However, the essay sparked further criticism and many actors from the Harry Potter franchise, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, have since voiced their support for trans women.
The charity Mermaids then wrote an open letter addressed to Rowling outlining why the organization believes the author’s comments are damaging to the trans community.
“We would like to begin by offering our solidarity with you as a survivor of domestic and sexual abuse,” the letter began, before going on to address Rowling’s views.
“To address the core of your point, trans rights do not come at the expense of women’s rights,” it read.
More recently, the Harry Potter reunion special,titled Return to Hogwartsappeared to distance itself from the author by including a caption on her brief segments that read: “Filmed in 2019.”
The author did not share any new insights for the episode, with her appearance accounting for less than 30 seconds of screen time.
If you need information or support, contact the following trans organizations in the UK: cliniQ, Gendered Intelligence, gallop and switch board