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J.K. Rowling says in new book of essays that loved ones begged her to keep trans views private

J.K. Rowling says loved ones ‘begged’ her to keep trans views private
J.K. Rowling says loved ones ‘begged’ her to keep trans views private Copyright Dan Hallman/Invision/AP
Copyright Dan Hallman/Invision/AP
By David Mouriquand
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J.K. Rowling appears in an essay collection featuring contributions from so-called 'gender critical' writers, in which she shares that her loved ones had pleaded with her to keep her polarising views on transgender women to herself. She also hits out at her hypocritical critics.


J.K. Rowling has revealed in a new book of essays that her loved ones had tried to persuade her to keep her views on transgender women to herself.

The Harry Potter author has contributed to an essay collection, "The Women Who Wouldn’t Wheesht", and in an extract published in The Times said that “people around me, including some I love, were begging me not to speak.”

“So I watched from the sidelines as women with everything to lose rallied, in Scotland and across the UK, to defend their rights. My guilt that I wasn’t standing with them was with me daily, like a chronic pain.”

Rowling has caused repeated controversy with her stance on trans rights, having shared numerous statements condemned as transphobic stemming back to 2020. She has been met with strong backlash in recent years over her claims that trans women “are not women” and her statemennt that she would rather go to jail than refer to a trans person by their preferred pronouns.

In the extract from "The Women Who Wouldn’t Wheesht" – a title which refers to a slogan used by so-called ‘gender critical’ activists in Scotland - Rowling also hits out at the double standards of friends who have rushed to criticise her views on transgender rights. The author said she had been surprised by colleagues who had condemned her views in public, only for them to email her privately to remain friends.

“People who’d worked with me rushed to distance themselves from me or to add their public condemnation of my blasphemous views,” she wrote. “In truth, the condemnation of certain individuals was far less surprising to me than the fact that some of them then emailed me, or sent messages through third parties, to check that we were still friends.”

Rowling went on to add that “those appalled by my position often fail to grasp how truly despicable I find theirs. I’ve watched ‘no debate’ become the slogan of those who once posed as defenders of free speech. I’ve witnessed supposedly progressive men arguing that women don’t exist as an observable biological class and don’t deserve biology-based rights.”

The author did not name names.

However, Rowling has had public disagreements with those who worked with her on the Harry Potter movies in recent years.

Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have all spoken out against her views and defended transgender women and men.

Earlier this month, Radcliffe told The Atlantic that Rowling’s views “make me really sad”, adding: “Because I do look at the person that I met, the times that we met, and the books that she wrote, and the world that she created, and all of that is to me so deeply empathic.”

Rowling previously said that she wouldn’t forgive the Harry Potter stars who have criticised her views.

“Celebs who cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors can save their apologies for traumatised detransitioners and vulnerable women reliant on single sex spaces,” she wrote on X/Twitter.

"The Women Who Wouldn’t Wheesht" is released today (Thursday 30 May) and is a collection of more than 30 essays and photographs from women in Scotland who claim to be on “the frontline of the battle for women’s rights”. It includes the views of women who are opposed to the Scottish government’s gender reform plans, who argue that the proposals infringe on women’s safety.

Additional sources • The Times

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