Breaking the transgender spell has cost the author a lot.
Did she impose the Unforgivable Curses? Did she condemn anyone to Azkaban? No; she claimed that a woman should not have forfeited her job for maintaining that men and women are different. And she followed that up by arguing that in fact they are different.
The position J.K. Rowling defended was one which, a few years ago, nearly everyone would have agreed with. In fact, I believe that today also nearly everyone would agree. But a violent and vocal minority not only believe otherwise but viciously attack anyone who disagrees with them. Ms Rowling has been the target of vicious verbal attacks and has even received death threats.
It is sad to see the three principal actors in the Harry Potter stories criticising the author without whom they would not be millionaires. Harry, Hermione and Ron would be ashamed of them.
It is an evident biological and psychological fact that men and women are different; a matter of science and of common sense: they complement each other. This is so obvious that no reasoned case can be made against it: which is why those who oppose it must resort to blind emotion and even physical threats.
Rowling’s statement in defence of her position is moderate and reasonable, yet it has provoked outrage. But the critics have not answered her arguments. Why? Because they can’t.
Through her personal experience and her study of the issues involved she has become deeply concerned about the detrimental effects the trans rights movement is having, and its push to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender.
She points out that there is an explosion of young women wishing to transition, and increasing numbers are taking steps that have permanently altered their bodies and taken away their fertility. In those transitioning “autistic girls are hugely over represented in the numbers”.
Rowling refers to researcher Lisa Littman, who wrote a paper expressing concern about Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, and who “…had dared challenge one of the central tenets of trans activism, which is that a person’s gender identity is innate, like sexual orientation. Nobody, the activists insisted, could ever be persuaded into being trans”.
Littman was “subjected to a tsunami of abuse and a concerted campaign to discredit both her and her work”.
Rowling shows great sympathy for young people who want to transition, partly because of her own experience when young. She suffered severely with OCD, and her father said openly that he would have preferred a son. Had she been born 30 years later she might have tried to transition. “The lure of escaping womanhood would have been huge.”
Noting that we are living through the most misogynistic period she had experienced, she points out that it’s not considered enough for women to be trans allies. “Women must accept and admit that there is no material difference between trans women and themselves.”
That statement expresses the essence of the problem: women are expected to annihilate themselves. Instead of there being two complementary ways of being human, male and female, the trans activists would blur the distinctions and cancel out the distinct qualities of each sex.
This program has dire consequences for both men and women, but holds special dangers for women, as in the insistence that biological men (there’s really no other kind!) be free to use women’s bathrooms and showers.
As Rowling observes: “When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he is a woman – and as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones –then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside”
It should really be no surprise that Rowling takes the stand that she does, for it is in accord with the healthy outlook on human nature implicit in the Harry Potter stories. Women there are portrayed as equal to men, but expressing their humanity in a feminine way. Large families are implicitly defended, as in the Weasley family: seven children with a loving father and mother: a rather poor family but happy.
And when Harry and Ron become romantically interested in girls, it is a healthy attraction.
An underlying theme is the power of a mother’s love, exemplified by Harry’s mother sacrificing her life to save him from the evil Lord Voldemort.
In fact, the theme of a mother’s unique love for her children is manifested when Molly Weasley hurls herself into battle against the formidable Bellatrix Lestrange, in order to defend her daughter Ginny. It is shown too when Narcissa Malfoy, in gratitude to Harry for telling her that her son is alive, lies to Voldemort, thereby risking her own life.
The Potter stories show a contrast between a healthy world and the world of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. And in this vendetta against Joanne Rowling we see something of a parallel. She defends a healthy view of Woman against a sick view that implicitly annihilates Woman.
J.K Rowling deserves support for her courageous stand. And it is good to read in her letter that the overwhelming majority of responses she received were positive, grateful, and supportive.
Professor Dumbledore warned the students at Hogwarts that a time may come “when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy” (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, chapter 37) It is all too easy right now to buckle to a fashionable trend, against all reason.
John Young is a Melbourne based writer on theological, philosophical and social Issues. He is author of several hundred articles and three books: The Natural Economy, Catholic Thinking, and The Scope of… More by John Young
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