It’s fair to say that JK Rowling is acknowledged by many as a skilled author and as such, is well-versed in the art of good storytelling. She has the ability to take the reader on a journey to reach the conclusions that she intended and to miss vital clues with subtle misdirection. This skill is very evident in her latest piece of ‘fiction’ as published in the Scottish Sunday Times, and there is one vital sub-note missing from this article – ‘based on a true story’ – the explanation to the reader that there is truth, but not the whole truth.
In this article, JK Rowling paints a very bleak picture of the dangers to Women if Scotland proceeds with the Reform of the GRA, which will, as stated, make it easier for transgender people to obtain a GRC. She details the scary consequences of this:
“Soon, then, in Scotland, it may be easier to change the sex on your birth certificate than it is to change it on your passport. In consequence, intact males who’re judged to have met the meagre requirements will be considered as “valid” and entitled to protections as those who’ve had full sex reassignment surgery, and more male-bodied individuals will assert more strongly a right to be in women’s spaces such as public bathrooms, changing rooms, rape support centres, domestic violence refuges, hospital wards and prison cells that were hitherto reserved for women.”
But what this alarming statement fails to truly explain is what having a GRC actually means, other than stating -
“Under the 2004 law, a trans person can apply for a gender recognition certificate (GRC), which recognises their acquired gender under the eyes of the law. They can then obtain a birth certificate with their recognised legal sex.”
So let’s just pause here because this is a vital point that JKR includes and then skips right on without any further examination.
“They can then obtain a birth certificate with their recognised legal sex.”
Okay – so surely the question has to be, that if you do change your Birth Certificate, what does this in reality, mean – what do we actually use a Birth Certificate for that is so dangerous?
Well, once changed, it means a trans man or woman can legally get married in their true gender identity. I am not transgender, so I can only imagine the pain and anguish it must cause for any Trans person to have their most special day overshadowed by the knowledge that they are being officially misgendered as they walked down the aisle. Clearly, anyone with a heart can see how having a GRC would benefit someone trans, but equally, it’s clear that this can do no harm or cause any danger to women.
Well, your Birth Certificate is also used to register your death. If a trans person has a loving and accepting family, then this may not be an issue, and they will hopefully be respected in death as to who they are, but in cases of non-acceptance, which are all too common, a trans person knows that their family can bury them in the wrong gender unless it is correctly stated on their Birth Certificate.
So again, an obvious reason why it’s of benefit to trans people, but God only knows how this represents any threat or danger to Women?
And what else?
There isn’t anything else, that is it – along with ECHR Article 8 Privacy (which protects your right to respect for your private life, your family life, your home and your correspondence e.g. letters, telephone calls and emails), these are the only two genuine and practical uses we have for a Birth Certificate.
Even JKR alludes to the fact that it’s very easy to change your Sex marker on a passport, which the majority of Trans people routinely undertake as a natural part of their transition journey, and this clearly is a form of ID we do all use in everyday life – and yet strangely this hasn’t caused any issue or danger or threat to ’women’s spaces’.
But what does JKR state about the danger of this reform?
“And the main arguments against change? Opponents believe vulnerable women will be placed at risk, with trans people with male anatomy gaining access to women-only spaces including changing rooms, public toilets, prisons and refuges.”
And this is where JKR clearly blurs those lines between truth and fiction – she somehow ignores the fact that everyone knows a Birth Certificate has no use or validity in ANY of those situations. We don’t use a Birth Certificate to access toilets or changing rooms, and a female birth certificate has no right whatsoever in law to demand entry to a female prison estate or a refuge. Quite brazenly, JKR even quotes in the article the law that confirms this but then fails to explain what it means:
“ A Scottish government spokesman said: “Our support for trans rights does not conflict with our continued strong commitment to uphold the rights and protections that women and girls currently have under the 2010 Equality Act, which includes a number of exceptions which allow for trans people to be excluded when this is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.”
As stated by the Scottish Government, the law covering the rights of trans people to use these spaces is governed by the Equality Act 2010 and not the Gender Recognition Act.
The EA10 sets out the protection rights trans people have to use spaces and facilities that they identify with at ANY stage of their transition (so they do not need a GRC to have this protection in law).
So trans people have automatic rights to use ‘Single Sex Spaces’ once they self-identify as being trans – they do not need a GRC or birth certificate to state they are Male or Female. It also sets out the existence of Exemptions whereby, if there is a legitimate aim and it is proportionate, a trans woman can lawfully be excluded EVEN IF THEY HAVE A GRC. So in the cases of prisons, refuges and entry into ‘female’ Sport, where there may be a legitimate aim to exclude, there is no automatic right of entry that anyone gains simply by having a GRC.
Having a female birth certificate does not change any ability or rights to enter or use any ‘Single Sex Spaces’ or ‘Services’.
So the obvious question that JKR just ignores is how can making it easier to change your birth certificate have any impact on the danger to women if it doesn’t change any rights to access to those spaces or services, as the only benefit is in death and marriage? The exemptions in the Equality Act already provide the required level of safeguarding and protection – they already exist – and JKR knows this – it’s stated in her article:
“(A Scottish government spokesman said) Those exceptions are important and the Scottish government supports them. The Gender Recognition Reform Bill does not make changes to Equality Act or to those exceptions.”
But what about those ‘predatory men’ as JKR states they are still a danger of abusing any potential loopholes?:
“The third argument Sturgeon uses is that it’s transphobic to suggest any man would fraudulently claim a female identity. This claim is extraordinary. Nobody but the very naive can fail to be aware that predatory men are capable of going to great lengths to gain easy access to victims, and have often sought out professions or special status that offer camouflage for their activities. Sex offenders have historically been found among social workers, teachers, priests, doctors, babysitters, school caretakers, celebrities and charity fundraisers, yet no matter how often the scandals break, the lesson appears never to be learned”
Well, of course, some predatory men will go to great lengths to abuse, and it is clear why they abuse in areas where JKR states there is a benefit to them - social workers, teachers, priests, doctors, babysitters, school caretakers, celebrities and charity fundraisers – but the question here is exactly what benefit would they gain from having a female birth certificate? They could get married and die as female – we’ve already established that this is all they could do.
Predators take the path of least resistance. It would be far simpler for a predatory man to ‘dress up’ as a cleaner or maintenance worker in order to access ‘women’s spaces’. And yet we have no reports of that happening either.
It’s simply of no benefit to predatory men, so we go back to Nicola Sturgeon being correct that it’s wrong to claim it would happen. And this is also ignoring the fact they would be making a false legal declaration which carries risk of a custodial sentence. How far would they need to go to be believed to be truly trans? Would they undergo hormone treatment which would make them infertile, see them grow breasts and give themselves dysphoria? And for what benefit? Not even in JKR’s wildest fiction could she make a believable story out of that scenario!
But we have even more evidence that this ‘threat’ is no more than fictional scaremongering. Since the Equality Act in 2010, it has been the case that a ‘predatory man’ could have abused this and simply stated they were Trans to get access into ‘female spaces’ – they don’t need to have a GRC, or take hormones or make any legal declaration under the EA10, and anyone is protected at any stage of their transition. So for 12 years ‘predatory men‘ will have been fully aware of this law but remember JKR states that ‘predatory men are capable of going to great lengths to gain easy access to victims’.
We know for a fact what the impact this has had on crimes committed by these fictional ‘predatory men accessing female spaces pretending to be trans’ – NONE.
Predatory men do not see pretending to be trans as a viable course of action. So again, this article is based on unjustified scaremongering, ignoring all evidence and facts readily available.
And let's quote another piece from JKR’s article -
“In 2019, The Sunday Times made a freedom of information request to the Ministry of Justice that revealed almost 90 per cent of sexual offences committed in changing rooms happened in those that are unisex.”
Well, of course, – because this genuinely does allow ‘predatory men’ into spaces where they have access to women! But these crimes are committed by cisgender men, not trans women. So the evidence is that they abuse given the opportunity afforded by unisex facilities, but not by any opportunities the EA10 might give to pretend to be transgender.
Trans people are not campaigning for unisex spaces. All they need is the peace of mind to be able to pee or get changed in a locked cubicle in the facilities that match their identity.
What we have identified is that the true existence and use of Self ID in accessing ‘Single Sex Spaces’ under the protection of the EA2010 works perfectly well already.
As for the recent poll results that she quotes, well, it’s hardly surprising. With all the lies and scaremongering, of course, there will be growing concern. But it’s all unjustified. I defy anyone to read this article and still claims that having a female birth certificate can have any impact on female safety. Would everyone polled know this?
Of course, not as way too many will undoubtedly be giving an opinion based on false or incomplete information.
The facts are that this is why the implementation of this law has had zero impact on women’s safety in any country where it has been implemented.
To date, gender self-identification is part of the law in 17 countries, including Ireland, Brazil, India, France, 6 other countries in the Europeon Union, and several jurisdictions in Latin America. Literally, 800 million people live with such laws, yet there is no evidence produced or paraded to show it has caused any issues whatsoever.
JKR includes the obligatory line about not being transphobic (eye-roll).
“concern for women’s and children’s safety isn’t something I’m pretending to be interested in to mask a deep hostility to trans people. The question for me and all the feminists I know is, how do we make trans people safe without making women and girls less safe?”
Every single ‘Gender Critical’ interview or article will include such a statement to make the reader believe they mean no harm and do care about trans lives – but then go on to try to remove rights and severely impact on their lives. The inclusion of such statements is simply misdirection, and the tell-tale signs are there for all to see.
“There is concern that some people with trauma, depression or other conditions could be pushed down the route of irreversible medical transitioning from an early age when counselling about their needs would be better.”
Err, no, if you are trans, you are trans. You can’t ‘push’ or force someone to be trans in the same way you can’t force someone to be gay, and ‘counselling’ is a very neat way to package the vile and abhorrent use of Conversion Abuse Practices to try to change a person from being transgender.
Let’s finish with an absolute gem of a quote from the article, perhaps the greatest ‘gotcha’ of all;
“it is dangerous to assert that any category of people deserves a blanket presumption of innocence.”
Please tell me that JK Rowing does truly understand the most basic principle of UK law, that we are all presumed innocent until proven guilty! Well, I can only surmise that to JK Rowling, this maybe applies to everyone except for trans people?
And yet she claims she’s not trying to “mask a deep hostility to trans people”
The litmus test is always to try using a different demographic to see if the statement is discriminatory.
For example - it is dangerous to assert that people of colour deserve a blanket presumption of innocence – I really don’t think I need to dwell on the level of public outcry that statement would clearly cause.
And before anyone claims ‘that’s different, it’s not. In JKR’s infamous 2020 essay where she finally came clean on her position in this matter, she stated her justification for her ‘concerns’ about all trans people was being the victim of abuse from a man (which I state here is absolutely awful).
But on this reasoning, would anyone who had been the victim of crime perpetrated by a person of colour, someone Jewish, Muslim or gay, be entitled to have the same right to demand safeguarding segregation?
And there’s that litmus test again.
None of the evidence that JKR states in her article give justification for any claims of increased danger or threat to women. All of the ‘evidence’ she failed to include shows there is no increased risk or danger.
There is simply no justification for standing up so passionately in an attempt to prevent trans people from simply being able to marry and die in greater dignity. And if you need anything further to reach a conclusion on where JKR truly stands, maybe try this YouTube video called 'JK Rowling's New Friends'
So is this latest article fact or fiction, and is JKR transphobic?
That’s for you to decide.
Opinion of Paul
Note our definition of "transphobic" is the prejudice against/of trans people.
08:04 17th October 2022