Pamela Paul | In Defense of J.K. Rowling – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Trans people need and deserve protection.”

“I believe the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others but are vulnerable.”

“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.”

“I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men.”

These statements were written by J.K. Rowling, the author of the “Harry Potter” series, a human-rights activist and — according to a noisy fringe of the internet and a number of powerful transgender rights activists and L.G.B.T.Q. lobbying groups — a transphobe.

Even many of Rowling’s devoted fans have made this accusation. In 2020, The Leaky Cauldron, one of the biggest “Harry Potter” fan sites, claimed that Rowling had endorsed “harmful and disproven beliefs about what it means to be a transgender person,” letting members know it would avoid featuring quotes from and photos of the author.”

What was her sin? “. . . . So why would anyone accuse her of transphobia? Surely, Rowling must have played some part, you might think.
The answer is straightforward: Because she has asserted the right to spaces for biological women only, such as domestic abuse shelters and sex-segregated prisons. Because she has insisted that when it comes to determining a person’s legal gender status, self-declared gender identity is insufficient.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT  NYT Comment:

Hats off to Pamela Paul, for this excellent essay in defence of J.K. Rowling. I am better equipped now to defend one of my favorite writers. I was appalled at the attacks when they first appeared, but I never organized my rebuttle as well as this fine essay. The most I came up with was, you can’t have read the Harry Potter books as often as I have, or read them aloud to your children, or listened to them read aloud by Jim Dale, the phenomenal reader, and watched the movies, and thought for a minute that these low and ugly accusation could have merit. I have converted my partner into a Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling fan, and we are listening together to Jim Dale read her opus for the second time. Her one other book we read, was “A Casual Vacancy,” which was, dark, full of petty, local politics and sex, and brilliant.

David blogs at

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