J.K. Rowling is claiming that most of her fans agree with her views on transgender people but that they are all “afraid to speak up” because of their “personal safety.”
Rowling has spent the better part of this past year arguing that transgender teens are being pressured to transition and that transgender women are a threat to cis women. And now she has an interview in the upcoming issue of Good Housekeeping where she claims that 90% of the letters she has received responding to her views on transgender people have been supportive, but that they are afraid of vicious, pro-equality advocates.
“Many are afraid to speak up because they fear for their jobs and even for their personal safety,” said Rowling. “This climate of fear serves nobody well, least of all trans people.”
She did not explain exactly what all of these letter-writers are afraid of. Rowling published a 3700-word essay on her website earlier this year saying she was afraid of trans women because cis men have hurt her, but she was still able to make millions per month on her books and even released a new book this year, which was about a cis man who dresses up as a woman so that he can get close enough to women to kill them.
“I believe everybody should be free to live a life that is authentic to them, and that they should be safe to do so,” she continued. “I also believe that we need a more nuanced conversation around women’s rights and around the huge increase in numbers of girls and young women who are seeking to transition.”
“Some of the most heartbreaking letters I’ve received have been from young women, who regret the irreversible surgeries they’ve undertaken. These stories need to be told.”
Rowling has been an outspoken opponent of puberty blockers for transgender teenagers, hormones given to some transgender kids to delay the onset of puberty so that they and their families can have more time to understand their identity before their bodies undergo permanent changes.
It is almost unheard of for transgender minors to undergo “irreversible surgeries.” Puberty blockers, though, prevent irreversible changes that come with puberty that can result in lifelong dysphoria for transgender people; transgender people who had access to puberty blockers are one-third as likely to report suicidal thoughts as those who wanted them but didn’t get them.
Rowling did not say whether their stories need to be told as well.
While Rowling has occasionally liked – and written – anti-transgender tweets over the past few years, her transphobia took center stage this past May when she liked an extreme tweet making fun of a transgender woman, tweeted an obscene and transphobic message at a nine-year-old fan, and finally in early June published a rambling, 3700-word essay about why she doesn’t like transgender women.
Since then, she has spent the month defending her views on Twitter and getting condemned by celebrities who worked on the Harry Potter films while fansites cut ties with her, authors fled her literary agency, and writer Stephen King denounced her.