Culture

Trans Activists Stand With J.K. Rowling In Open Letter After Trash Rag Chats With Her Abusive Ex

“We stand alongside JK Rowling. It might surprise some, given the impact of her words on the trans community... But our struggles are connected."

Trans activists side with J.K. Rowling after 'The Sun' publishes interview with her abusive ex

More than 60 leading trans activists and figures in the UK have written an open letter in solidarity with J.K. Rowling.  The author last week disclosed she was physically abused by her ex-husband during a harmful 3,600-word essay about trans women, and was subsequently the subject of a first-page headline by UK tabloid The Sun promoting an interview with Rowling’s ex: “I slapped J.K. and I’m not sorry”.

It came two days after Rowling’s essay, which was her first public admission of experiencing domestic abuse — a disclosure which came amid a rant on the importance of feminism based on biological sex, an argument used by TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists), who have a strong-hold on UK mainstream feminism.

Rowling’s essay arrived as a defense to tweets in which the Harry Potter author took offense at an article headline which used the language of “people who menstruate”. You can read a full break-down of the essay over on Forbes by trans journalist Dawn Evans.

The essay and comments have been disavowed by many within the Harry Potter world, including all three lead actors in the film adaptations, and trans activists. Now, many leading trans activists and figures in the UK have banded together to stand in solidarity with Rowling.

“We write to you in shock and dismay at the abhorrent front page of The Sun newspaper in which you gave voice to JK Rowling’s abuser,” the open letter begins.

“Misogyny is a pervasive force and one that treats survivors and victims of sexual and domestic violence as bylines to their abusers story.”

“We stand alongside J.K. 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.”

In a statement to Pink News, letter organiser Nim Ralph said it was important that trans activists and figures called out misogyny, as it harmed all women.

“We stand alongside JK Rowling and all victims and survivors of gender-based violence. It might surprise some, given the impact of her words on the trans community,” Ralph said. “I was as hurt as the next trans person by her essay. But our struggles are connected.”

“We have always been here in the fight against misogyny and gender-based violence; we will always speak up against it and fight back where we see it. Patriarchy is our shared oppressor.”

In response to both the letter and wider criticism, The Sun has defended the headline and interview, saying it did not mean to ‘glorify’ domestic violence.

“We were disgusted by the comments of JK Rowling’s ex-husband, and branded him ‘sick’ and ‘unrepentant’ in our coverage,” it said in a statement. “Our intention was to expose a perpetrator’s total lack of remorse.”