Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling has reignited controversy over her stance on transgender rights by opposing gender recognition reform legislation in Scotland.
Rowling has clashed with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon following the Gender Recognition Reform Bill’s introduction last week at Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament.
“Multiple women’s groups have presented well-sourced evidence to @NIcolaSturgeon’s government about the likely negative consequences of this legislation for women and girls, especially the most vulnerable. All has been ignored,” Rowling wrote on her Twitter account on Monday.
“If the legislation is passed and those consequences ensue as a result, the @SNPgovt can’t pretend it wasn’t warned,” she added. The Scottish legislation aims to simplify how trans people apply for legal recognition.
The bill, if passed, would allow trans people to make a legally binding declaration that they will live permanently as their acquired gender and no longer have to offer medical records or other evidence of a transition. On Monday, Sturgeon appeared on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One radio program to insist she disagreed “fundamentally” with Rowling’s opposition to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill and her claim that it threatened vulnerable women.
The proposed legislation “doesn’t give trans people any more rights, doesn’t give trans people one single additional right that they don’t have right now. Nor does it take away from women any of the current existing rights that women have under the Equality Act,” Sturgeon argued.
Controversy over Rowling’s stance on transgender rights began in June 2020 when the popular author first tweeted about an op-ed piece regarding “people who menstruate” and mocked the story for not using the word “women.” The tweet generated a backlash, which prompted the author to defend herself and elaborate on her views in an essay.
On Tuesday, Rowling returned to social media to take aim at Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities Anneliese Dodds, who is also chair of the Labour Party in the U.K., for not providing the “definition of a woman” when asked to do so during an appearance on another BBC Radio 4 program, Women’s Hour.
“Someone please send the Shadow Minister for Equalities a dictionary and a backbone. #HappyInternationalWomensDay,” Rowling said on her Twitter account, before adding in another tweet: “Apparently, under a Labour government, today will become We Who Must Not Be Named Day.”