Dear Friends at The Courier,
As a committee and fervent supporters of trans rights and support, we at Perthshire Pride felt compelled to address Jenny Hjul’s recent article “JK Rowling’s Transgender Views Speak for the Moderate Masses Watching a World Going Mad. While we respect the writer’s opinion piece, we felt that we should share our opinion on the matter also.
Given the choice between standing up for the basic right of trans people to exist in society and an entitled multi-millionaire, ‘Blair Publishing’ sided with their cash cow, JK Rowling.
As an organisation which organises pride and celebrates equality and diversity, transgender rights are at the centre of our community. JK Rowling is a serial offender in discriminating against the transgender community. The trans community, and their allies including all three main actors from the Harry Potter movie franchise, are right to stand their ground and defend their rights and freedom whenever and however they are challenged.
In December 2019, Rowling came to the defence of Maya Forstater after she commented that “Men cannot change into women”. Rowling responded on Twitter with the following:
“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 sex is real?”
Rowling was also rightfully slated for this statement by implying that trans women are men dressed as women. Her opinions that sex determines gender is not only outdated, but leading medical advice from organisations such as the World Medical Association recognise that individuals have the right to determine their own gender and “call for physicians to uphold each individual’s right to self-identification with regards to gender.”
In the article, we object heavily to calling trans activists ‘misogynistic’ for challenging Rowling. According to a misogynist is defined as ‘a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women’. From the strong prejudice displayed in Jenny’s article against trans women, and to reiterate, trans women ARE women, the only misogynistic aspect is the article itself.
The UK is taking a worrying turn against trans rights as our government is reportedly scrapping the Gender Recognition Act reform despite 70% of the public being in favour of the reform during consultation. The Gender Recognition Act reform would allow statuary declaration of ‘self-identification’ rather than the current lengthy, bureaucratic process of changing one’s gender listed on a birth certificate.
The Gender Recognition Act states that ‘Trans and non-binary people are members of our society and should be treated with respect.’ JK Rowling’s argument would force trans people to use facilities relating to their birth sex. For instance, trans women would be forced to use male facilities, despite strong evidence that this puts them at risk of violence. In a recent survey, Stonewall found that 41% of trans people have been attacked or threatened with violence in the last 5 years.
Ms Hjul’s article stated that “she [JK Rowling] is vilified for worrying aloud about the sanctity of women’s refuges, the presence of men self-styled as women in women’s (and young girls’) changing rooms”. These statements are backed up by no evidence and are not only illogical, but dangerous in trying to vilify and portray trans women as sex offenders and a danger to society, which is clearly not the case. You cannot build an argument to take away rights from trans people on the basis that these rights might be abused by cisgendered men.
We were particularly perplexed at Ms Hjul calling the campaign for trans rights “fabricated victimhood”. How can this be fabricated when 60% of young trans people have experienced threats and intimidation and more than a third (35%) of trans young people have experienced physical assault? Can this really be victimhood when 48% of trans people in Britain have been driven to attempt suicide and 84% per cent have considered it?
Finally, we were particularly disappointed with one of the final statements:
“And she [JK Rowling] can rage against the new subjugation of women by a new breed of man.”
Here the veil is finally lifted, exposing the hatred. Trans women are not ‘a new breed of man’. Trans women are women, all trans people deserve to be treated with respect. There is no ‘subjugation of woman’ by gaining rights for trans people, as giving rights to trans and non-binary people does not reduce the rights of cisgendered women and men.
Trans people exist. Non-binary people exist. Allies exist. Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. We stand as a community, we will stand up for our trans family and we will stand our ground.
The Perthshire Pride Committee
Mermaids's Open Letter to JK Rowling