13 March 2022

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How is JK Rowling's blog on sex and gender transphobic?

 In June 2020 JK Rowling wrote this: J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues

So what's wrong with it?

  1. Her main point is that because she was abused once by a man in a toilet, no men can be trusted. She's actually  following the slippery slope fallacy: not all men are abusers
    1. Slippery slope fallacy explained: TED-Ed
  2. It's far less likely than trans women will attack women than men, even though Jo repeatedly points out about trans women using changing rooms and toilets.
    1. Trans people are "so much more scared of you than you are of us" - TED
  3. She basically ignores the concerns of trans people
    1. In the whole reported LGBT+ community, trans people suffer the most and commit suicide the most compared to any other group - National LGBT Survey 2018 
    2. Trans people also attacked just for being themselves, in public, in the workplace, at home - literally everywhere. And it's getting worse - Transgender Equality
    3. Gender dysphoria is the reason trans people exist - it is a known and proven medical condition where the mind's version of things (gender) and the body (sex) don't line up (NHS). Trans people's thoughts stem from mild unsatisfaction to committing suicide over it. Some have even performed surgery on themselves over how desperate they are for their body to match their gender. Imagine that - being so disgusted or out of touch with your own body that self-harm with intent. Trans people are constantly reminded about how ingrained gender is in society - pronouns, toilets, clothing, and filling out forms are all triggers that make trans people think of who they aren't. (YouTube) (TEDx)
    4. Science shows that brain structure difference aligns with the gender people perceive themselves to be (PMC)
    5. Being trans is not a choice, and therefore, trans people deserve equity and the chance to live their lives as their authentic selves - everyone deserves the right to be authentic about who they are. Even if that means people putting someone's preferred gender and pronouns first over their biological sex.
    6. There are other people in the LGBT+ community who aren't trans but also don't identify as a specific gender - they don't "feel" male or female. The most common gender instead is "non-binary".
    7. Trans people are not trying to erase sex or gender, or bring about the "erosion of women’s and girl’s rights" they ultimately just want to be accepted for who they are. Trans people want to feel included, and there is no harm in including trans people to society or language.
    8. Misgendering people is a form of violence as it causes physical pain - Healthline
    9. The best way to be inclusive of trans people is not to question them, but to listen, and accept them for who they are. Rather than be gender critical or trans exclusive, what trans people need right now is support. (Me)
  4. She supports the views of others who are transphobic
    1. She quotes Maya Forstater who is gender critical - BBC. I personally disagree with the court's decision on protecting beliefs.
    2. She followed Magdalen Berns, another gender critical person, who thinks that being trans is a fetish, rather than what it actually is, which is a medical condition - YouTube
    3. Related transphobes:
      1. Germaine Greer
      2. Graham Linehan
      3. Julie Bindel (Guardian)
      4. Lisa Littman
  5. She says she's "followed the discourse", but she's only ever discussed her side of the issue, especially when it comes to her retweets
  6. She debates the term TERF even though it's established that it's about trans exclusion and therefore about her
  7. She continues to make transphobic comments and brings up irrelevant points:
    1. "a lot of people in positions of power really need to grow a pair"
    2. When she says her "five reasons" that justify her reasoning to be an expert on trans issues:
      1. her first point (she owns a charity) is just her explaining how charitable she is to women's causes, but mentions nothing about trans people
      2. her second point (she was previously a teacher) is just pointing out how charitable she is
      3. her third point (she's a writer) is her just stating she's a good author
      4. her fourth point is saying she's worried about transitioning and transitioning back
        1. why is it her concern what people do with their bodies?
        2. She's also generalising problems based on a small number of cases, and doesn't provide evidence to back up her claims. The only evidence she's cherry-picked is basically that girls are effectively being peer pressured to transition because of the pressures women have against privileged men, and this is obviously a generalisation and not the rule, and does not mean that discrimination of women leads to transitioning.
        3. She is right about "a person’s gender identity is innate, like sexual orientation", which it is.
        4. She then generalises again, saying "The argument of many current trans activists is that if you don’t let a gender dysphoric teenager transition, they will kill themselves." This is a false generalisation - as stated in the National LGBT Survey 2018, trans people have a lower satisfaction, and yes, they do commit suicide as stated, but that does not mean all of them do, and trans activists don't mean that either.
        5. She then proceeds to conflate gender dysphoria with other mental conditions such as "anxiety, dissociation, eating disorders, self-harm and self-hatred" and jokes that she might be trans for the next 3 paragraphs.
        6. Her next point is about desistance: "between 60-90% of gender dysphoric teens will grow out of their dysphoria". She doesn't take into account that the studies have been discredited or that if being transgender "persists during puberty and into adolescence, it is very likely permanent" (Wikipedia) (KQED). She hasn't taken the full picture into account.
        7. She goes on to claim that she has "met some trans people", she picks out a single example with anecdotal evidence, which is a logical fallacy.
        8. She then goes on to argue in favour of "rigorous process of evaluation, psychotherapy and staged transformation" just so that "A man ... may now ... be woman in the sight of the law". How exactly does this affect her personally?
    3. She then goes on to conflate sexists with trans activists as being generalised discriminators of women (at: "We’re living through the most misogynistic period...")
  8. She basically supports "importance of biological sex" over gender, but as discussed, when it comes to trans and non-binary people, their sex is not more important over their gender. Why is it important to put sex over gender?
    1. Medical reasons - I think that's a completely valid reason, but does it have to be public? No
    2. Confusion over whether you should be attracted or not - Why should the sex interests of others decide whether trans people can use non-binary pronouns, toilets? How does it even affect you, personally? Does it make you uncomfortable of your own gender? Does it lessen your own gender in any way? No, it doesn't. Trans people are not out to "confuse" you or "trick" you into being attracted to them, trans people just want to be treated like normal people. And if you are attracted to them, you have to ask yourself, what is your sexuality? There's nothing wrong with being attracted to trans people, even if they haven't had surgery. Not all attraction is sexual either, there is also romantic and platonic attraction which is separate to sexual attraction and they don't have to overlap.
    3. There is a lot of toxic masculinity in the world. Straight white men are those most privileged group of people, and women are disproportionately abused by men including domestic violence, lower pay, treated with less respect, and not given the same opportunities. Straight men are stereotypically aggressive compared to other groups, and some people don't want to associate themselves with masculinity. Note that we have many biases around sex and gender as well. - TED
    4. When it comes to boys and girls, in the example of toys, there are plenty of gender-neutral toys so it's not accurate to say that boys and girls prefer gendered toys outright. (Me)
    5. One day, we should be able to reach a point where labels are not needed at all, where everyone is accepted equally regardless of their sexuality or gender and considered normal in everyone's eyes universally. Until then, labels are necessary to support others. (Me)
    6. We may have an instinct to determine someone's sex when we meet them, and we may be programmed to put everything into neat little boxes, but we have to learn to look past that. Ask yourself: Why does it matter to you what someone's sex is? - TEDx
  9. There is more than one sex, and more than one gender
    1. Sex determination is a spectrum - Scientific American
    2. Our language and mindset already supports non-binary. We already use "they" and "them" when we don't know someone's gender, like a placeholder, and so they are the most inclusive terms - Tom Scott (and also me)
  10. She offers no other alternative solutions to the problem, instead basically coming to the conclusion that trans people don't deserve the right to identify as the gender they say they are at all, including but not limited to gender affirming certificates that support a birth certificate, using toilets that match their gender, or using pronouns
  11. She is not an expert on trans matters, but effectively acts as if she knows everything, and that imbues her with power in her words because of how famous she is. She doesn't quote or refer to a single trans-inclusive entity in this blog or any of her tweets, instead coming up with everything on her own terms and understanding. She cherry-picks only views that support her own. If you want to understand trans people, you need to give trans people the platform and hear what they have to say.
  12. JK Rowling has so much influence, but uses it poorly. When she could be spreading messages of love, respect, kindness and compassion through inclusivity, or donating to charities, or doing literally anything else, or just saying nothing at all instead of spreading hatred, she seeks to discredit trans people and their identities and continues to do so to this day to prove her point. 
  13. She is relentless and is refusing to listen to the voice of reason, and has created an echo chamber where she is ignoring the voices of trans-inclusive supporters.
  14. Her other tweets
    1. With my reply  - https://twitter.com/rjc_uk/status/1470410076104101901 


Controversial topics explained

 Topics I will be covering in upcoming blogs, keen to hear more suggestions.

  1. How is JK Rowling's blog on sex and gender transphobic?
  2. Can there be a female or a black James Bond?
  3. Topics that Kurzgesagt have already covered well:
    1. Coronavirus
    2. Vaccines
    3. Brexit
    4. Universal Basic Income
    5. Meat
    6. Drugs
    7. Climate change
    8. Nuclear energy
    9. GMO
  4. Elon Musk
  5. Black Lives Matter: questioning black people even when it might seem innocent
  6. Explanation of terms like Black Lives Matter and Trans Lives Matter
  7. Christianity/religion
There are also some proposals to discuss:
  1. Importance of education: What's wrong with it, what should it look like, and what will the benefits be?
  2. How would non-partisan politics work and still be democratic?