JK Rowling responds to criticism over transgender comments

JK Rowling has said she was partly motivated to speak out about transgender issues because of her experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

The Harry Potter author, 54, responded to criticism surrounding her comments in a lengthy blog post on her website.

In the post, she detailed five reasons she felt the need to talk about the issue – including her interest in "both education and safeguarding" and "freedom of speech".

Explaining her final reason, she wrote: "I've been in the public eye now for over 20 years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor.

"This isn't because I'm ashamed those things happened to me, but because they're traumatic to revisit and remember.

"I also feel protective of my daughter from my first marriage. I didn't want to claim sole ownership of a story that belongs to her, too.

"However, a short while ago, I asked her how she'd feel if I were publicly honest about that part of my life and she encouraged me to go ahead.

"I'm mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who've been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces."

Daniel Radcliffe, the star of the Harry Potter film series, and Eddie Redmayne, who leads the cast of Fantastic Beasts, have both criticised Rowling for her comments about transgender issues.

Last weekend, Rowling took issue with a headline on an online article discussing "people who menstruate", and said: "I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

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The stars from left to right; Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson with the author J K Rowling arrive for world premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone at the Odeon Leicester Square in London.
Harry Potter author J.K Rowling signs a fans shirt at the Waterstone`s book shop in Edinburgh as she launches her new book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Author, Joanne Kathleen Rowling, 34, (J K Rowling) at Kings Cross Station London at the launch of her new Harry Potter book, 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'. The fourth book, in series of seven which have now combined sold more than 35 million copies. * The Goblet of Fire has achieved advanced sales of two million. 25/11/2000: JK Rowling's latest Harry Potter offering has been pipped to a children's book prize by a re-telling of the classic A Pilgrim's Progress. Geraldine McCaughrean's version of John Bunyan's work scooped the first ever Blue Peter Book Of The Year Award. * 16/02/2001 dated 8/7/00 of Harry Potter author Joanne Kathleen Rowling. Teenage wizard Harry Potter has enchanted library users by sweeping to the top of the lending league for children's books, figures showed Friday February 16, 2001. JK Rowling's best-selling creation took the first three places for kids' books in the annual round-up of reads with Harry Potter and The Philospher's Stone at number one.
Author JK Rowling (2nd right) with director alfonso Cuaron and the stars from left to right, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe at the UK premiere of Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban at the Odeon Leicester Square in Central London, the third film from author JK Rowling's series of books on the boy wizard.
Whitney Stanbra, 6, from Basingstoke poses with a 'Platform 9 and 3/4' sign beside a special WAGN Harry Potter train arrives on Platform 9 at King's Cross station in London before beginning its first ever passenger journey from London King's Cross to Cambridge. * King's Cross station plays a leading role in the film 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' which is released at cinemas across the country.
A special WAGN Harry Potter train arrives on Platform 9 at King's Cross station in London before beginning its first ever passenger journey from London King's Cross to Cambridge. King's Cross station plays a leading role in the film 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'. * ... which is released at cinemas across the country.
Actors Robbie Coltrane (rear), and (from left) Rupert Grint Emma Watson and Warwick Davis at Kingscross Station, central London, for the Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone - DVD & video launch party.
Stars from the latest Harry Potter film 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' (from left) Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, during a photocall at the Guildhall, London, to promote the new film.
Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter (left) with the characters creator JK Rowling (centre) and co-star Emma Watson as they arrive for the celebrity film premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.
The cast, crew and author arrive for the celebrity film premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the Odeon Leicester Square in London's West End.
The stars of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, from left to right; Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson during the worldwide launch of the DVD/VHS at Leavesden Studios in north London.
The cast and crew of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during the worldwide launch of the DVD/VHS at Leavesden Studios in north London.
Five girls head the queue outside Waterstones in Piccadilly, London for the eagerly awaited fifth installment of Harry Potter. The girls (from left) Suzanna Dickson, Stevie Finegan, Savannah Mazda, Vienna Francis-Mullins and Sinead Miller, * .. all from London, have been waiting for nearly eight hours to ensure they get a copy of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. harrypottergal
The stars, from left to right; Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint pose for photographers during a photocall to promote the new Harry Potter movie 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' at The Gladstone Library in central London.
MTV presenter Dave Berry (left) with Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson during their guest appearance on MTV TRL UK at the MTV Studios's in Camden.
Star of the film Daniel Radcliffe arrives for the UK premiere of Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban at the Odeon Leicester Square in Central London, the third film from author JK Rowling's series of books on the boy wizard.
Emma Watson, J.K Rowling, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe arriving at the premiere of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Leicester Square, London ©Doug Peters/allactiondigital.
Author JK Rowling (centre right) and stars of the film Daniel Radcliffe (left), Rupert Grint and Emma Watson arrive for the UK premiere of Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban at the Odeon Leicester Square in Central London, the third film from author JK Rowling's series of books on the boy wizard.
(From left to right) Rupert Grint (Ron), Emma Watson (Hermione), and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) arrive for the Global DVD & VHS Launch party of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, at Middle Temple in central London
JK Rowling arrives at Edinburgh Castle for the Launch party for her latest Harry Potter Book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Jennifer Ellison, Hagrid and Professor Dumbledore during a visit to hand out copies of the new Harry Potter book, which was released at midnight.
Fans brave the rain outside the Odeon cinema in London's Leicester Square in anticipation of the arrivals for the world premiere of the new film 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire', Sunday November 6, 2005. See PA story SHOWBIZ Potter. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA.
The Harry Potter films win the Empire Outstanding Contribution Award at the Sony Ericsson Empire Film Awards 2006, from the Hilton London Metropole, central London, Monday 13 March 2006. See PA story SHOWBIZ Empire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA
The cast of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, (left to right) Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Daniel Radcliffe, on the Thames Terrace of County Hall in south London, ahead of the European premiere of the film next week.
Emma Watson arrives for the UK Premiere of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix at the Odeon Leicester Square, central London.
Emma Watson arriving at the European Premiere of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square, London.
JK Rowling at the launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at The Natural History Museum in London
The cast of Harry Potter receive the award for Best Family Film for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix during The National Movie Awards at the Royal Festival Hall, central London.
(from left to right) Tom Felton, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Bonnie Wright and Jessie Cave are seen at a photocall to launch the new film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, at Claridges Hotel in central London.
Rupert Grint (left), Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe (right) arriving for the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.
Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe arrive for the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.
(left to right) Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, JK Rowling and Rupert Grint arriving for the World Premiere of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows : Part One, at the Odeon West End, Leicester Square, London.
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And in December last year she voiced her support for a researcher who was sacked after tweeting that transgender people cannot change their biological sex.

Critics accused her of being transphobic, an allegation Rowling strongly denies.

In the blog post, Rowling also said she was motivated to address transgender issues via her Twitter account because of what she sees as an increasingly misogynistic society.

"We're living through the most misogynistic period I've experienced," she continued.

"Back in the 80s, I imagined that my future daughters, should I have any, would have it far better than I ever did, but between the backlash against feminism and a porn-saturated online culture, I believe things have got significantly worse for girls.

"Never have I seen women denigrated and dehumanised to the extent they are now.

"From the leader of the free world's long history of sexual assault accusations and his proud boast of 'grabbing them by the pussy', to the incel ('involuntarily celibate') movement that rages against women who won't give them sex, to the trans activists who declare that TERFs need punching and re-educating, men across the political spectrum seem to agree: women are asking for trouble.

"Everywhere, women are being told to shut up and sit down, or else."

Rowling said she had felt "mentally sexless" as a girl growing up in Gloucestershire, which had prompted her to develop mental health issues.

She wrote: "When I read about the theory of gender identity, I remember how mentally sexless I felt in youth."

Rowling said she had been influenced by Colette and Simone de Beauvoir's views of gender during this period.

She added: "As I didn't have a realistic possibility of becoming a man back in the 1980s, it had to be books and music that got me through both my mental health issues and the sexualised scrutiny and judgment that sets so many girls to war against their bodies in their teens.

"Fortunately for me, I found my own sense of otherness, and my ambivalence about being a woman, reflected in the work of female writers and musicians who reassured me that, in spite of everything a sexist world tries to throw at the female-bodied, it's fine not to feel pink, frilly and compliant inside your own head; it's OK to feel confused, dark, both sexual and non-sexual, unsure of what or who you are."

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