Carys Moseley comments on author J.K. Rowling’s recent comments against transgenderism.
Best-selling novelist J.K. Rowling has ignited a media firestorm by insisting that only woman can menstruate. In a society brought to its knees by the coronavirus crisis, one would expect scientific facts to matter. However, as lockdowns are eased, the transgender social media avalanche returns.
Women, not ‘people who menstruate’
The row started after J.K. Rowling tweeted criticising an article posted on the website of Devex, a global development media platform with links to the Department for International Development. It was entitled ‘Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate’.
Rowling took issue with this wording and tweeted sarcastically to the effect that there used to be word for such people. What happened next however is quite startling.
‘Harry Potter’ turns against his creator
Daniel Radcliffe, the young actor who played Harry Potter in the film adaptation of Rowling’s novels, made a statement via the Trevor Project, an American LGBT suicide prevention charity.
“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.”
All this in a manner that can only be described as arrogant. These fans allegedly claimed they could no longer enjoy the series because of Rowling’s tweets.
“To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you.”
Surely it isn’t for Radcliffe to say anything to readers about their experience of the books, as he didn’t write them. At the same time, the fans clearly have little understanding of the need to distinguish fiction and reality. There are no transgender characters in Harry Potter so why is this debate even relevant to them?
‘Hermione’ drinks the kool aid
Things get worse with Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films. Watson is known as a transgender/non-binary campaigner and is sadly even a UN Ambassador for Women. She too decided to turn against Rowling with these words:
“Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.”
Just like Radcliffe, Watson aimed her comments at her Twitter followers, this time explicitly transgender followers.
‘The Danish Girl’ complains
If this wasn’t enough, Eddie Redmayne, who played Newt Scamander in a Harry Potter spinoff film written by Rowling, also repeated the mantra ‘transwomen are women’. Redmayne’s motivation for doing this was that he had previously played male-to-female transgender Lili Elbe in the blockbuster film ‘The Danish Girl’.
Cancel culture comes for Rowling
After the row erupted, Rowling wrote an essay on her blog explaining her reasoning. As it turns out these are very familiar concerns about the loss of reference to biological sex. She explains that she first started to speak up about this subject last December in relation to the case of Maya Forstater, the tax expert who was sacked from her post for ‘transphobic’ tweets questioning the reform of the Gender Recognition Act. Rowling says that she started becoming the target of online harassment, something that is a matter of record.
Months went by and her events started to be cancelled, with her being accused by some of ‘literally killing’ transgender people with ‘hate’. This is de-platforming, or to put it more dramatically, ‘cancel culture’.
Concern for charitable work
Rowling gives five reasons for speaking out. The first one stands out:
“Firstly, I have a charitable trust that focuses on alleviating social deprivation in Scotland, with a particular emphasis on women and children. Among other things, my trust supports projects for female prisoners and for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. I also fund medical research into MS, a disease that behaves very differently in men and women.”
Rowling is clearly concerned for vulnerable women who cannot reasonably be protected from abusive males if gender is merely self-defined. She is also concerned about the medical implications of gender self-identification.
Rowling states that she used to be a teacher, and as such is concerned about the effect that trans politics is having on both education and safeguarding. These are common concerns for many of us.
The current dehumanisation of women
It is quite startling that Rowling then puts her finger on the influence of online pornography on our culture.
“We’re living through the most misogynistic period I’ve experienced. 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.”
This is important because pornography has helped normalise perversions such as transgenderism among young people of both sexes. There is little else that truly explains why it has become such a huge battle to defend such normal aspects of modern civilization as single-sex toilets. It is so obvious that the voyeurism inherent to pornography has corrupted many people.
Surviving domestic abuse and sexual assault
Rowling’s final reason for speaking up is her concern for other women who like herself survived domestic abuse and sexual assault. She said this:
“I managed to escape my first violent marriage with some difficulty, but I’m now married to a truly good and principled man, safe and secure in ways I never in a million years expected to be.”
However what Rowling goes on to say shows a worrying inconsistency. She wants to show her compassion for male-to-female transgender people who have also suffered at the hands of violent men. She really isn’t consistent about who is a woman, because she refers to a man who had gender reassignment surgery as ‘a woman’. She seems to do this because she likes this person.
The triumph of sentiment
Rowling wants to show how compassionate she is. One cannot doubt her sincerity, but how wise she is, is another matter. She finishes her essay with this statement:
“All I’m asking – all I want – is for similar empathy, similar understanding, to be extended to the many millions of women whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without receiving threats and abuse.”
Surely the answer to this is ‘really? Is this all you want? Empathy for women?’ The cold, unpalatable truth is that the trans movement is never going to show empathy for women and girls who are frightened and annoyed by their demands. For this movement is actually built upon a lack of empathy and insight. Rowling and all who think like her are tragically naive.
The gnostic takeover of contemporary culture
Historic legislation and social policies that put single-sex rights in their place were themselves the product of empathy, as well as insight into the fallen human condition. They were the product of a Christian mindset. It has been progressively eroded by the gnostic reasoning behind the transgender movement, which insists that one can have secret knowledge about being ‘born in the wrong body’.
Rowling is not a Christian. She has drawn a lot of criticism from some Christians for some of the occult symbolism in her Harry Potter books and films, and the influence this has had on children and teenagers. It is interesting in this respect just how the actors who played her characters have since then blurred the line between fact and fantasy to the extent that they have done. It is also significant just how arrogant they have been in publicly turning against the woman who created the characters that catapulted them to global stardom. Perhaps the magic of the Harry Potter books is not working quite the way Rowling hoped it would, to make people better and show the good side of human nature.
What the J K Rowling fiasco teaches us
The present controversy over Rowling’s views reveals how similar her views are to those of many non-Christians. Many of her concerns are right and good. However, neither she nor others who think like her will be able to resolve the problem because they are still prepared to lie about who is a woman for sentimental reasons. Whilst many Christians had misgivings about her novels, what this real-life episode shows is that what I call the ‘gnostic mentality’ is actually taking over our society, not only fiction and film. In this respect this fiasco should be a serious wake-up call to push back and address the contemporary culture with the claims of the Christian faith.