Transgender author who quit agency says JK Rowling ‘in with wrong crowd’
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An author who quit JK Rowling’s literacy agency has accused the Harry Potter writer of being “scared and fearful” of transgender people after falling in with “the wrong crowd”.
Fox Fisher left The Blair Partnership alongside three other writers, claiming that the agency had refused to support the trans community after Rowling provoked outrage by posting an essay arguing for the protection of women “as a political and biological class”.
Fisher said Rowling, 54, had not “opened her eyes” and was generating her opinions from sources in non-transgender circles. She also claimed an official Twitter account of The Blair Partnership has retweeted a “toxic” messages on the issue.
“I think she’s fallen in with the wrong crowd. And that she is very scared and fearful of things when she just needs to spend some time with some transgender people who might also have been her fans,” Fisher said on the BBC’s Today programme this morning.
“I think when we are not transgender we get our information from other sources including non-transgender people and I think that information can be very flawed.
“I just think that if she opened her eyes and saw that transgender women are women then we’d be able to move forward.”
Fisher identifies as a non-binary transgender person and so prefers to use the pronoun “they” as opposed to “he” or “she”.
They added: “It is not an equal playing ground. JK Rowling is an absolutely huge author and the agency was created around JK Rowling. Even combined we’d never have the same sales as she does. Since December I’ve been trying to speak to the agency about JK Rowling’s tweets and while I’d never be able to change her views — or demand to — all we wanted really was an open conversation.”
The Blair Partnership has represented Rowling, who has sold more than 500 million books worldwide, for almost a decade.
Ms Fisher was joined by the other departing authors, DreDavies and Ugla Stefania Kristjonudottir Jonsdottir, in denouncing the agency’s response to Rowling, saying that they were “saddened and disappointed”.
The three are thought to have been joined by a fourth author who wishes to remain anonymous. They said in a joint statement that after Rowling’s public comments they had asked the agency to “reaffirm their stance to transgender rights and equality”.
“After our talks with them we felt that they were unable to commit to any action that we thought was appropriate and meaningful,” they said.
“Freedom of speech can only be upheld if the structural inequalities that hinder equal opportunities for under-represented groups are challenged and changed.”
The Blair Partnership said it was committed to upholding the values of “freedom of speech for all”.
A spokesman said: “These clients have decided to leave because we did not meet their demands to be re-educated to their point of view. We value all our authors’ voices and, as an agency, champion equality and inclusivity.”
Rowling, who has spoken about her discomfort with elements of trans activism in the past, was criticised after she tweeted her bafflement at an article on an international development website using the phrase “people who menstruate” rather than women. She wrote her essay in response to that criticism.
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, the leading cast members of the Harry Potter film series, each issued statements in support of transgender people.