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JK Rowling Slammed For Criticising Scotland's Gender Reform Legislation

Ella Kipling March 8, 2022

JK Rowling is trending on Twitter after her recent comments about Scotland’s introduction of new Gender Recognition Reforms. Here is everything we know.

Scottish government’s gender recognition reforms explained

The Scottish government has introduced legislation which simplifies how an individual changes their legal gender. The legislation proposes dropping the need for medical and psychiatric reports, reducing the waiting time from two years to three months, and will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to apply.

Social justice secretary Shona Robison said the reforms were significant ‘in saying who we are as a nation.’

Critics have argued that self-identification will alter who can access women-only services, which they said could put women in danger.

However, Robison explained: ‘[The bill] does not introduce new rights or remove rights. It does not change public policy or prevent single-sex services being offered where appropriate. It does not change rules or conventions in place, and in place for years under the current system, for example access to toilets and changing rooms.’

According to Robison, the process of changing gender will remain ‘serious and substantial,’ and making a false application ‘will be an offence with penalties of up to two years imprisonment or an unlimited fine.’

JK Rowling criticises new legislation

JK Rowling shared two tweets in response to the news of Scotland’s new gender reforms.

One said: ‘The law @NicolaSturgeon‘s trying to pass in Scotland will harm the most vulnerable women in society: those seeking help after male violence/r**e and incarcerated women. Statistics show that imprisoned women are already far more likely to have been previously abused.’

This is not the first time JK Rowling has spoken out about trans people, and in an essay published on her website in 2020 the author wrote:

‘I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe.

‘When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.’

Rowling faces backlash on Twitter

Rowling faced backlash online for her comments on Scotland’s gender reforms and began to trend on Twitter as people all over the world hit out against her tweets.

One person wrote: ‘Every time a prominent terf celebrity like JK Rowling shifts the problem of misogynistic violence from cishet males onto transgender females, society gets further away from seriously confronting the issue.’

Another said: ‘By falsely blaming the wrong group, she provides cishet men the noise or cover they need to remain hidden. She is making the problem worse. That’s not a feminist of any flavor.’

Trans internet users also shared their thoughts online, and discussed how Rowling’s tweets affect them, with one writing: “Isn’t it great that every trans person has to immediately emotionally prep themselves literally EVERY TIME JK Rowling’s name appears in trending? How the tweet whims of a single woman dictate how we emotionally spend our entire day and misinformation we have to tackle? Love that.’

Others suggested how to deal with Rowling’s comments, with one user saying: ‘I immediately click “not interested” every time her name appears. Which I suppose means I’m not Doing My Part but a person can only take so much after awhile.’

Photo by Cindy Ord/WireImage,

Harry Potter cast members who have spoken out against Rowling

Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, previously released a statement through The Trevor Project. He wrote:

‘Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. If you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred.’

Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood, shared a statement on Twitter which read:

‘I think it’s irresponsible to discuss such a delicate topic over Twitter through fragmented thoughts and I wish Jo wouldn’t. I disagree with her opinion that cis-women are the most vulnerable minority in this situation and I think she’s on the wrong side of this debate. But that doesn’t mean she has completely lost her humanity.’

Eddie Redmayne, who played Newt Scamander, in Fantastic Beasts films, said:

‘Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. This is an ongoing process. As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid.’

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Ella is the Head of Content at Freshered and also works a freelance journalist at GRV Media, writing for HITC and Reality Titbit. Her interests lie in news and anything culture related including entertainment, musicals, books, and social media. Ella is also a big supporter of student media and writes for her university’s newspaper as well as hosting her own show on the radio station.