Opinion: J.K. Rowling Is Taking Heat From the LGBT Left. And The Reason Should Concern Us All

Opinion: J.K. Rowling Is Taking Heat From the LGBT Left. And The Reason Should Concern Us All

Originally published on The Daily Signal

 

Just weeks ago, few could have predicted the fiery backlash that J.K. Rowling, author of the bestselling Harry Potter series, would receive from her own fans. Yet just before Christmas, that’s exactly what she received.

Why? Because she dared defend a woman who was fired simply for expressing a defense of biological reality.

Rowling’s level-headed take on this topic may come as a surprise to some, given her history of supporting liberal politicians. But just as surprising are the facts that led to Maya Forstater’s firing.

Forstater, 45, was employed as a tax expert at the Center for Global Development, a British think tank. In 2018, her organization fired her after she posted comments on Twitter that criticized the U.K. government’s plans to let people self-identify according to the gender they choose.

She tweeted her agreement with Fair Play for Women, a feminist group that opposes allowing biological men into women’s sports. She said, “I share the concerns of @fairplaywomen that radically expanding the legal definition of ‘women’ so that it can include both males and females makes it a meaningless concept, and will undermine women’s rights & protections for vulnerable women & girls.”

After being fired, she filed a complaint with an employment tribunal and alleged that she was discriminated against on the basis of her beliefs.

She reiterated those beliefs in her witness statement to the tribunal. She said she is “gender critical,” meaning that she believes “‘sex’ is a material reality which should not be conflated with ‘gender’ or ‘gender identity’ and that “being female (or male) is an immutable biological fact, not a feeling or an identity.”

The tribunal rejected her claim. In a lengthy judgment issued on Dec. 18, Judge James Tayler ruled that her view is “not worthy of respect in a democratic society,” calling it “absolutist” and “incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others.”

What’s more, Tayler said Forstater’s views are not protected as a “philosophical belief” under the Equality Act 2010, even though “religion or belief” is one of the nine categories protected in the law. The Equality Act is the basis of anti-discrimination law in Great Britain.

Forstater reacted to the ruling with shock. She said, “I struggle to express the shock and disbelief I feel at reading this judgment, which I think will be shared by the vast majority of people who are familiar with my case.”

She also reiterated her view on Twitter: “There are two sexes. Men are male. Women are female. It is impossible to change sex. These were until very recently understood as basic facts of life.”

While employment tribunals in the U.K. do not carry binding legal precedent, this case is clearly an alarming development, particularly because it shows that U.K. law now supports the firing of people whose speech fails to conform to the latest development in LGBT orthodoxy.

Louise Rea, a senior associate at British law firm Bates Wells who advised the company that fired Forstater, defended the ruling in a rather ominous statement to CNN. She ignored Forstater’s free speech claim because her words supposedly attacked the “dignity” of others:

“A number of commentators have viewed this case as being about the claimant’s freedom of speech. Employment Judge Tayler acknowledged that there is nothing to stop the claimant campaigning against the proposed revisions to the Gender Recognition Act or, expressing her opinion that there should be some spaces that are restricted to women assigned female at birth. However, she can do so without insisting on calling transwomen men. It is the fact that her belief necessarily involves violating the dignity of others which means it is not protected under the Equality Act 2010.”

This case makes clear what had previously been more ambiguous: British law no longer protects speech that goes against progressive sexual orthodoxy, because said speech now violates a person’s “dignity.”

By that standard, virtually any traditional belief system could be labeled as discriminatory if it can be argued that it offends someone’s dignity.

Rowling is to be applauded for sticking her neck out and speaking her mind in an age when doing so is increasingly costly. She is getting heat from fans as well as elite voices in the media, such as Jackson Bird, who wrote in The New York Times that he was “disappointed” in her.

Thankfully in the U.S., the First Amendment remains strong enough to protect the kind of speech Forstater has been penalized for in the U.K. But if “gender identity” is added as a protected class to federal civil rights law—as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the left have pushed for, and passed in the House—our system would move in the same grim direction as the U.K.

Protecting marginalized groups from blatant discrimination is not at issue here. We all agree that is wrong. But penalizing people who believe in only two sexes—as we all did until a few short years ago—is an affront to the most rights of human beings: to have free thoughts, and to be able to speak them.

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18 Comments

  1. Mitch
    January 09, 08:30 Reply

    “…penalizing people who believe in only two sexes—as we all did until a few short years ago—is an affront to the most rights of human beings: to have free thoughts, and to be able to speak them.”

    This is the gospel!

    Let me just add something…

    “…penalizing people who believe in only two sexes-as we all did until a few short years ago and is both biologically and intrinsically correct in itself- is an affront to the most rights of human beings: to have free thoughts, and to be able to speak them!”

    There!
    Fixed it!

  2. Higwe
    January 09, 10:22 Reply

    – until a few short years ago – people thought it was ridiculous for gay people to get married .

    – until a few short years ago – people thought it was a sacrilege for gay couples to legally adopt children .

    As a gay man seeking all the natural human rights while living a life many consider unnatural….isn’t this topic a bit dicey to delve into ?

    Would it be an affront to most rights of human beings if people were actually allowed to speak on the negative affectivity being raised by two “daddies” could have on growing kids ?

    ….or does your concern for free thoughts and ability to speak them end wherever the issue of your sexuality begins ? 😎

    Sometimes you just gotta jump and pass.
    A wise man knows when not to shake a table he’s not standing very far from .😝

  3. trystham
    January 09, 11:25 Reply

    “What’s more, Tayler said Forstater’s views are not protected as a “philosophical belief” under the Equality Act 2010, even though “religion or belief” is one of the nine categories protected in the law. The Equality Act is the basis of anti-discrimination law in Great Britain”

    I do not envy attornies. My head will just be turnioniown. At what point does speaking one’s mind become absolutionist?

    • Mitch
      January 09, 14:25 Reply

      Jukenem ohh!
      Ask me, my brother.

  4. Dimkpa
    January 09, 18:01 Reply

    This idea that there are 2 sexes assumes that all that can be known about sex is already known. I don’t think it is. Going by the creed that men are male and women are female, it can be extrapolated that going biologically, men have sex with women and therefore homosexuality should not be. We all know that is not true.

    The fact that it was understood in the past as a basic fact of life does not mean that it should remain the same now and forever more. Knowledge changes, things come to light and what we should do is change with it. Clinging on to knowledge from the past in order to further an agenda can therefore be discriminatory. One does not get to call a transgender woman a man because you believe it to be so. It can offend and is discriminatory.

    Sex is not as easy as people think. We have in the past talked about the guevedoces. These are people born female but transform to male at puberty. The thing that strikes me about them is that even before the change, the play and act like boys even though everyone tells them they are girls. I imagine that if they were to say they are boys before they change, people would laugh at them. What if there are others who do not get to change at puberty? Are we then to tell them that they are indeed women?
    Some of us have seen the BBC documentary Blue Planet where a particular specie of fish transforms from female to male after hibernation for a while.

    Issues surrounding sex are complex even though it appears simple. For homosexuality, we do not know why it is that men are attracted to each other but it is so. Does this not suggest that there is some neurological mechanism underlying this that is as yet not fully understood? Why should we then accept the fact of homosexuality and not that of a possible dissociation between what the brain thinks it is and what the body is?

    The least we could do is be sympathetic and accommodate people who are going through this problem and not spout men are male like we know everything. If it was just an act, why is it that they have high suicide rates apparently caused by the immense psychological stress they face?

    So yes, spouting men are male is discriminatory and I am glad she was called out on it. Anyone can believe what they like but should be prepared to take responsibility for that belief especially if it harms or offends others. Discussions about an obvious sporting advantage of having been exposed to testosterone can still hold without erasing the whole transgender community.

    • trystham
      January 09, 19:07 Reply

      That extrapolation is based not on science, but RELIGION. At least, there are occurrences of same sex relations among a diverse species in nature. That invalid homosexuality falls on its face abeg.

      • Dimkpa
        January 09, 21:33 Reply

        You rightly use the existence of homosexuality in other species to validate it in humans. I have presented you with examples of creatures that changed their gender and somehow it is still not enough to accept transgender people.

    • Delle
      January 09, 19:55 Reply

      A large piece of this comment is just patronising, sentimental and too exaggerated.

      Sex and identity is what it is now because we have thrown the sympathy card at people’s faces so much and forgotten that cis-females also deserve a bit of that sympathy. Who’s denying transgender people the right to identify? Who’s stripping them of their fundamental right to be? But are you a woman simply because you FEEL you are, I’m sorry but you’re not. And this isn’t about being cold, it’s fact.

      Moreso, how we do not see the apologetic tone in ‘you are gay and so do not have the rights to say this…’ is baffling!

      Am I supposed to cower in the face of a social issue because I am an enigma to small-minded people? Do you feel that little that you accommodate even a wrong thing as though you’re a wrong, pitiful spec of existence the world accommodated? That line of thought is as pathetic as it’s crass and I will not allow myself be a part of it.

      If you’re trans, you’re trans. You’re an entity on your own and you’ll always be valid.

      Cis-women have a right to identify as themselves because sex and gender are on two different lanes and whilst they may intersect at some points, they aren’t same and will never be. Quit with the sentiments and face truth.

      Ugh!

      • Mandy
        January 09, 20:20 Reply

        Preach. This. Delle!!!!
        Loud it!!!! 🔊 🔊 🔊

      • Wut
        January 09, 20:40 Reply

        The issue is not whether Cis women can ‘identify as themselves’; it is about the demeaning claim that trans women ‘aren’t real women’ – which is just a more insidious form of the ‘men in dresses’ trope. Womanhood is not defined by the presence or lack of genitalia. There is already a distinction (which is what the Cis and Trans labels are) so nobody is “erasing cis women’s identity” or swagger jacking them. And you are (mentally) a woman if you believe you are; gender is not an ethnicity or tribe that has cultural particulars. If your biological organs are judged by society to be ‘not naturally female’, you are trans. Get it? It’s really simple

      • Dimkpa
        January 09, 21:29 Reply

        One of the reasons I hardly comment on this blog is to avoid getting into arguments and personal attacks that detract from the issue at hand.

        What I have tried to do is present some examples that point to the fact that seeing people as male or female just based on genitalia is simplistic. The processes involved in reaching that end are complex. Having studied human embryology, physiology and anatomy, it is not hard to see how variations can occur when things don’t go according to plan. Perhaps this article from a Neuroscientist will help.
        https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/stop-using-phony-science-to-justify-transphobia/
        If you cannot bother to read it all, the conclusion might help.

        “Moreso, how we do not see the apologetic tone in ‘you are gay and so do not have the rights to say this…’ is baffling!”

        With respect to this, I never made that argument or statement. What I tried to do was draw a parallel between the way we as gay men are misunderstood and the way trans-women are.

        It is interesting that you use the term cis-women but only stop at ‘trans’ when referring to transgender women. Whether it be ‘cis’ or ‘trans’ they are all women.

        I also note you have reduced being trans to a ‘Feeling’. People don’t kill themselves just because of a feeling.

        I also wonder why this whole argument is around trans-women. Why is no one up in arms in saying trans-men are not men? Why is it that having an ovary does not stop a person from being called a man but having a tested somehow disqualifies one from being a woman? For feminists that champion equality between the sexes, is this not in a roundabout way an indication they do not actually believe that?

    • Higwe
      January 10, 00:00 Reply

      Damn !

      Wow !

      👏👏👏👏👏👏🙌🙌🙌.

      Thank you so much , I’ve learnt a lot .

      We have brainy people here sha.🙆🏼‍♂️

  5. Wut
    January 09, 20:29 Reply

    I love how bigotry doesn’t look so bad anymore when it isn’t aimed at you. There are not actually two sexes, even biologically; there are at least three, but why let the existence of intersex individuals get in the way of your desire to deny the identity of people you don’t personally identify with? Why, for that matter, let the fact that SEX AND GENDER ARE NOT THE SAME THING (gender being a psychological identity that is formed, not assigned, and spectral not binary) stand in your way This is Nigeria, you should know better; a butthole wasn’t ‘made biologically’ for a dick, or you’d be ovulating from your ass. Glass house, stone, you know the rest.

    • Higwe
      January 10, 00:01 Reply

      👏👏👏👏👏👏🙌

      Thank you so much.

  6. Higwe
    January 10, 00:52 Reply

    I just love the flow of the argument today.

    All(most) interlocutors are raising salient points without cussing each other out.

    This is one of the reasons I signed up here.

    I wanted to learn, and I couldn’t be more grateful being surrounded by so many intellectuals to the point I feel pretty average.

    *******************

    Thank you so much Dimkpa .

    I’ve learnt more from your write up than all the books , movies and reality TV shows I’ve watched about transgendered people .

    I’ve always considered myself a bit superior to them because in my mind * still sticking to my so called sex and gender kind of gives me an edge *

    Thank you for making me realise that we are all the same and everyone has the right to be who/what they want – as long as they’re not hurting anyone .

    You really broke everything down ingeniously.

    **************

    As for the two ugly sisters – Esmeralda and Griselda 😂😂😁 argue with those ones at your own peril .

    Watch them turn this Intelligent debate to an all out war zone soon .

    They’re like siamese twins …they think and reason alike.

    Sometimes I wonder if it’s the same person pretending to be two pseudonyms.

    But the side kick is a lot more tolerable than his master … so I presume not.

    You’d be wise to jump and pass …I do that all the time , unfortunately they seem to be everywhere .😂

    Like the curse of Hades foreshadowing the damned.

    Tsk tsk tsk tsk 🚶🏼‍♂️

    • Demi
      January 10, 21:46 Reply

      Lord Jesus higwe!! I’m a quiet boy oh, now my neighbours think I’m mad cos I’m seriously laughing out loud.. Ya d shadiest aswear.. Kikikikiki

      Anyway I tend more towards dimpka line.. Eventho I feel trans women av a lil advantage in women sport.

  7. Bee
    January 13, 03:33 Reply

    Take this down.

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