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According to JK Rowling, she was aware that "many folks deeply unhappy" would be offended by her opinions on transgender issues


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    Harry Potter author JK Rowling has said she knew that when she spoke out about her views on transgender issues “many folks would be deeply unhappy with me”.

    Speaking to host Megan Phelps-Roper on the podcast The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, she said that despite assertions she has betrayed the messages in the Harry Potter novels, she believes she is “absolutely upholding the positions that I took in Potter”.

    The author, who rarely does interviews, spoke to Phelps-Roper about her 2019 tweet in support of Maya Forstater, who lost her job after tweeting that transgender women could not change their biological sex. Forstater later won her claim that she was unfairly discriminated against because of her gender-critical beliefs.

    Rowling said on the podcast: “When I first became interested in, and then deeply troubled by, what I saw as a cultural movement that was illiberal in its methods and questionable in its ideas, I absolutely knew that if I spoke out, many people who love my books would be deeply unhappy with me.

    “I knew that, because I could see that they believed that they were living the values I had espoused in those books. I could tell that they believed that they were fighting for underdogs and difference and fairness. And I thought it would be easier not to.”

    But despite knowing “this could be really bad” and saying she had been “scared at times for my safety and, overwhelmingly, for my family’s safety”, Rowling said she still wanted to speak and that “time will tell whether I’ve got this wrong”.

    Rowling said she’d “thought about it deeply and hard and long and I’ve listened, I promise, to the other side, and I believe, absolutely, that there is something dangerous about this movement and that it must be challenged”.

    The author has been criticised by Harry Potter fans. In 2022 competitive quidditch, named for and modelled on the sport in the novels, changed its name to quadball, with one of its governing bodies citing Rowling’s “anti-trans positions” as a reason for the change.

    But on the podcast, Rowling said a “tonne of Potter fans were grateful I’d said what I said”, and said that people who claimed she was a villain like those in her famous series “have not understood the books”.

    She said the Death Eaters – a brigade of dark witches and wizards who Harry Potter fought against – “demonised and dehumanised those who were not like them”.

    “I am fighting what I see as a powerful, insidious, misogynistic movement, that has gained huge purchase in very influential areas of society,” said Rowling. “I do not see this particular movement as either benign or powerless, so I’m afraid I stand with the women who are fighting to be heard against threats of loss of livelihood and threats to their safety.”

    A fan of the books, interviewed on the podcast, said they hoped Rowling “can try to see why so many trans people are angry and hurt by this … and understand why people who are being constantly rejected and humiliated by our families and governments, who are losing our access to healthcare or being threatened with it, who are fighting for our basic ability to participate in society, why we might feel hurt and betrayed by her contributing to fear about us.”

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