J.K. Rowling criticised over support for woman who lost her job in transgender tweet row

19 December 2019, 16:06

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling voiced her support on Thursday
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling voiced her support on Thursday. Picture: PA

By Megan White

J.K. Rowling has been criticised for defending a woman who lost her job after tweeting her views about transgender people.

Maya Forstater lost her job at the Centre for Global Development after tweeting “men cannot change into women” and airing other gender critical views, which a tribunal judge said was “offensive and exclusionary.”

The visiting fellow wrote over 100 tweets giving her opinion about proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, which would allow people to self-identify their gender.

She launched a discrimination case against her former employer, but Judge James Tayler ruled in their favour, saying “it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.”

“The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

After the judgment, the Harry Potter author tweeted: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill”

Ms Rowling was criticised by fans for the tweet, which one trans follower said “brings me to tears.”

Journalist and activist Paris Lees wrote: “Being overweight is “real” but it’s still deeply unpleasant and completely unnecessary to go around calling people “fat”.

“Really disappointed to see you defend a culture of relentless bullying that contributes to nearly half of young trans people in the UK attempting suicide.

“I transitioned at 18 but I would have done it at 16 had it not been for people telling me I'd never be a "real girl".

“Then, when I finally plucked up the courage, people would shout at me in the street to tell me I wasn't a "real" woman, making me afraid to go outside for years.

“Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live our lives with dignity.

“I'm in a good place in 2019 but your words will hurt vulnerable young people and embolden their bullies.

“I hope you'll reconsider them and meet some of the families affected through All About Trans.”

But some fans supported Ms Rowling, thanking her for speaking out.

One follower wrote: “Thank you so much JK for defending biological reality from myself and my daughter.

“As females are oppressed, abused and discriminated against because of our biological sex, those who deny the reality of sex are engaging in the most extreme misogyny.”