Trans activists write to Sun condemning JK Rowling abuse story

By Jim Waterson Media editor

Trans and non-binary activists have written a public letter in support of JK Rowling after the Sun published a front page interview with her ex-husband headlined: “I slapped JK and I’m not sorry.”

The group of campaigners said that while they strongly opposed the Harry Potter author’s stance on trans rights, they stood in solidarity with her against the newspaper’s “abhorrent” approach to a domestic violence story.

“Misogyny is a pervasive force and one that treats survivors and victims of sexual and domestic violence as bylines to their abuser’s story,” the trans and non-binary activists said in the letter to the Sun’s editor, Victoria Newton.

“We stand alongside JK Rowling in this cruel and malicious reporting, which sends a dangerous message to all survivors that their stories are only valid when corroborated by their abusers. It sends a message to all survivors of domestic and sexual violence that they will not be believed, and it is dangerous.”

Rowling revealed her past experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault as part of a lengthy essay published on her website last week in which she detailed her views on gender identity and transgender rights following criticism of her previous public comments on the issue.

She set out her opposition to proposed legislation to make it easier for trans people to legally identify as a different gender, and to trans women who have not undergone hormone therapy or surgical transition having access to single-sex spaces.

Her comments were condemned by the majority of LGBT campaign groups, while many of the younger actors who starred in her Harry Potter films have since issued statements distancing themselves from her views.

As part of last week’s essay, Rowling described her treatment at the hands of a former partner, which led to the Sun tracking down and interviewing her first husband.

Among the dozens of signatories to the letter supporting Rowling are Christine Burns, who was awarded an MBE for her work helping to secure the 2004 Gender Recognition Act. Other signatories include performance artist Travis Alabanza, poet Roz Kaveney, and writer Andrea Lawlor. There are also representatives from Amnesty UK’s Rainbow Network and other leading trans rights campaign organisations.

The signatories called for the Sun to apologise to Rowling and improve its reporting on domestic violence: “Though her disclosure of domestic violence came in the middle of a long post detailing her anti-trans views, this does nothing to alter our unwavering solidarity with all survivors of domestic violence, including JK Rowling.

“We condemn your appalling and salacious front page; a violation of both dignity and privacy. Vulnerable groups should not be used to sell newspapers. As trans people we often fall victim to the same salacious reporting and stand against all misogyny and violence against women.”

This weekend government sources briefed the Sunday Times that they planned to drop the proposals to simplify the gender recognition process.