In an unexpected turn of events, J.K. Rowling, the famed author of the Harry Potter series, made a surprising appearance at the FiLia Women’s Conference this week. This marked her first public discussion of her controversial anti-trans views. Rowling shared the stage with known TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) Julie Bindel in a panel focused on sexism and bullying. During her speech, Rowling expressed her belief that her wealth obligated her to speak out against transgender individuals in the name of protecting women and girls.
Rowling stated, “I will always be able to feed my family. I’ve looked around and realized that it has to be someone who can take the hit. And it has to be me. I can afford it.” She went on to claim that, “This has never been about trans rights but rather about women’s rights and activists’ demands to dismantle those rights. I have nothing but profound sympathy for trans women who have experienced male violence. I want trans people to be safe. I just don’t want women and girls to be any less safe.”
This argument aligns with the common TERF narrative that granting rights to trans individuals somehow endangers cisgender women. In reality, trans individuals are at a higher risk of becoming victims of violent crime. A study by the Williams Institute found that trans people are over four times more likely than cisgender people to experience such violence.
The decision to include Rowling in the conference program caused controversy, as FiLia reportedly left her name out to avoid a trans rights protest. Previously, the conference had been temporarily canceled due to pressure from trans activists who considered it “dangerously transphobic.” The debate over events like FiLia continues to ignite tensions between trans rights and women’s rights advocates.
J.K. Rowling’s ongoing anti-transgender stance has garnered significant attention and criticism. She has issued public statements against transgender people, endorsed conversion therapy for trans individuals, and published a book featuring a character who wears dresses to harm women. Her views have also found resonance in U.S. politics, with Republicans citing her to oppose LGBTQ rights. As the discussion surrounding trans rights intensifies, Rowling’s stance remains a contentious topic within the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.