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JK Rowling’s most hateful rant yet: Trans people are criminals who don’t need legal protections

J.K. Rowling, The Ickabog, transphobia
J.K. Rowling Photo: Shutterstock

A controversial new hate crime law went into effect in Scotland on Monday, and anti-trans provocateur J.K. Rowling jumped at the chance to test the resolve of Scottish authorities who would enforce it.

“I have been DELIBERATELY DEFIANT,” Rowling posted to X yesterday in a thread pushing the limits of hate speech, as she implied trans people were violent criminals (and even axe murderers). Rowling listed numerous trans criminals and public figures, claiming that each had either violated or stolen coveted positions from girls and women.

The Harry Potter author swaddled her hateful comments in sarcasm under cover of an April Fools post, but then swung for the fences by misgendering the lot of her criminal subjects.

“🎉🌼🌸April Fools! 🌸🌼🎉”, Rowling bleated. “Obviously, the people mentioned in the above tweets aren’t women at all, but men, every last one of them.”

Rowling tagged all of the transgressive posts #ArrestMe.

The recently passed Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 adds to the country’s previous hate speech protections with a new crime of “stirring up hatred” relating to age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity, or being intersex. If someone makes statements against these groups “that a reasonable person would consider to be threatening or abusive,” they could face up to seven years in prison.

The law also contains protections for free speech including for “ideas that offend, shock or disturb,” meaning that Rowling likely won’t face legal charges for her hateful thread.

“In passing the Scottish Hate Crime Act,” Rowling tweeted, “Scottish lawmakers seem to have placed higher value on the feelings of men performing their idea of femaleness, however misogynistically or opportunistically, than on the rights and freedoms of actual women and girls. The new legislation is wide open to abuse by activists who would silence” Rowling and her anti-trans allies, Rowling wrote.

The issues that have consumed Rowling over four years since she started chasing clicks with her anti-trans views include the following: “eliminating women’s and girls’ single-sex spaces,” “the nonsense made of crime data if violent and sexual assaults committed by men are recorded as female crimes,” “the grotesque unfairness of allowing males to compete in female sports,” and “the injustice of women’s jobs, honors and opportunities being taken by trans-identified men.”

Reasonable people could perhaps debate these issues, but her claim that biological sex is “immutable” – and that it defines a person’s existence, negating their gender identity – colors dark all of her other assertions. It is a biological fact that sex, and the gender associated with it, are fluid — the existence of intersex people proves this.

Rowling’s views on the subject weren’t always so immovable.

The author once wrote of empathy for trans women, “feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence.”

She also revealed a capacity for nuance, sharing, “I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”

Since then, her views have hardened to such an extent that her recent social media thread championed an imprisoned double rapist as the exemplar of trans womanhood.

Susan Smith of For Women Scotland, an organization that campaigns for biological women’s rights, opposes the new law that Rowling criticized.

“The tests are quite woolly and we don’t know how people are going to interpret this,” she told BBC News the day before Rowling posted her rant. “We do anticipate that there will be a lot of malicious complaints, a lot of rather trivial complaints, and potentially people who are investigated will see their lives upended.”

“I imagine there will be many complaints, for example, made against J.K. Rowling,” she added.

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