Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
JK Rowling publishes essay responding to trans tweets criticism
10 June 2020, 23:50
JK Rowling has revealed that she is a survivor or domestic abuse and sexual assault following criticism over comments she made about transgender people.
The Harry Potter author published a 3,600 word essay on her website in which she addressed the criticism she has faced following her comments about "people who menstruate".
She said that her interest in trans issues come from her experiences of sexual abuse and domestic violence.
In the post, she detailed five reasons she felt the need to talk about trans issues, including her interest in "both education and safeguarding" and "freedom of speech".
She wrote: "I've been in the public eye now for over 20 years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor.
"This isn't because I'm ashamed those things happened to me, but because they're traumatic to revisit and remember.
"I also feel protective of my daughter from my first marriage. I didn't want to claim sole ownership of a story that belongs to her, too.
"However, a short while ago, I asked her how she'd feel if I were publicly honest about that part of my life and she encouraged me to go ahead.
"I'm mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but 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 commented on her "perennial jumpiness", saying it is "a family joke now but she hopes her daughters never have the same reasons she does for hating sudden loud noises, or finding people behind me when I haven't heard them approaching."
The row began last week, when Ms Rowling posted on Twitter responding to a headline on an online article discussing "people who menstruate".
She wrote: "I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"
She has since been criticised for being transphobic, however Ms Rowling defended her comments, saying it "isn't hate to speak the truth".
Following the criticism, she responded: "My life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it's hateful to say so."
"I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives."
In December last year the author supported a researcher who was sacked after tweeting transgender people cannot change their biological sex.
She also said she was motivated to address transgender issues because "we're living through the most misogynistic period I've experienced".
She continued: "Back in the 80s, I imagined that my future daughters, should I have any, would have it far better than I ever did, but between the backlash against feminism and a porn-saturated online culture, I believe things have got significantly worse for girls.
"Never have I seen women denigrated and dehumanised to the extent they are now."
Her initial comments on Twitter have been criticised by Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and Eddie Redmayne.
Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Potter franchise, also commented, saying: "Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren't who they say they are."