Trans activists hate Rowling because she’s a woman James Kirkup 15.09.20

The original article is here.

If you’re unwise enough to rely on Twitter for information about the world, you might be wondering if JK Rowling is dead. The hashtag #RIPJKRowling has been all over Twitter for several days but it’s not an obituary. It’s a wish. Thousands of people have been using an open platform to talk gleefully about the death of the woman who created Harry Potter.

I say “woman” deliberately, because Rowling’s sex is pivotal. The central fact of this story is not what Rowling has said and written. It is not her opinions about transgender issues. It is that she is female.

The Twitter mob praying for her death wouldn’t accept that. They’d say their rage is triggered by Rowling’s “transphobic” writing, especially a book that none of them have read yet. That book is the latest Cormoran Strike crime novel, which Rowling writes under the pen name of Robert Galbraith. Troubled Blood features a male serial killer who wears women’s clothes. This is not original: Hitchcock’s Psycho and Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs are among many works to use a similar device. The real world sadly offers examples, too.

Yet at the time of writing, at least, neither Psycho nor the Hannibal Lecter stories have been “cancelled” by trans-rights advocates wishing death on their promoters. So what makes Rowling uniquely deserving of hatred in the name of tolerance and inclusivity?

The pretext is that she has said bad things about the transgender issue. Those include arguing that women have the right to exclude male-bodied people from intimate spaces, and that women have the right to express their opinions about law, politics and society. How very dare she?

Even the briefest search of the online hate raining down on Rowling this week shreds that flimsy pretext and reveals the essential sexism of the mob. I tried to count the number of #RIPJKRowling tweets calling her a “bitch” but there were too many. “C***” was almost equally common.

This is appalling but unsurprising. I’ve written a lot about this issue and seen countless examples of women who speak out in the transgender debate facing targeted, sustained and, ultimately, sex-based abuse. Men who engage with the topic — and there are still too few — face no such attacks. A movement that claims to be modern and progressive is all too comfortable with slapping down women who speak out of turn.

Many parts of the discussion about trans rights are complex and nuanced but some are very simple. One is that much of the anger that poisons this issue has nothing to do with trans rights. It’s about people who hate women.