A nasty little list — the JK Rowling fan club


There is a petition going around in support of awful transphobe JK Rowling. It’s remarkably stupid.

We are a group of writers, actors, directors, musicians, producers, comedians and artists who wish to speak in support of JK Rowling. She has been subjected to an onslaught of abuse that highlights an insidious authoritarian and misogynistic trend in social media. Rowling has consistently shown herself to be an honourable and compassionate person and the appalling hashtag #RIPJKRowling is just the latest example of hate speech directed against her and other women that Twitter and other platforms enable and implicitly endorse.

We are signing this letter in the hope that if more people stand up against the targeting of women online, we might at least make it less acceptable to engage in it or profit from it.

We wish JK Rowling well and stand in solidarity with her.

I’m not sure what the purpose of the petition might be. It’s not urging any changes or action. It just wants everyone to stand on one side of a line in support of transphobia and a ridiculously wealthy writer.

It wants to stop people from profiting by disagreeing with JK Rowling, which is not a thing. Nobody is getting rich from pointing out her ugly ideas.

I don’t see how saying “Eww, ick, I won’t buy her books anymore” is authoritarian. It’s also not authoritarian if I look at that list of over 7000 signatories and think “What a bunch of assholes” and think poorly of them for their association.

Rowling has not been “honourable and compassionate” — she’s been a pious bigot — and if you regard standing in solidarity with a bigot is a commendable position, think again.

But yes, please, do go sign that useless petition if you agree with it. I love it when horrible people drop the mask and slap a clear label on their forehead.

Man, the UK is a weird place, where this flavor of prejudice is still socially approved. It’s bad when an American can say Britain is even worse than we are.

Comments

  1. stwriley says

    You have to wonder who this petition is supposed to convince. I didn’t even recognize most of the names on it and not a single author/writer that I’d actually read. So it would be pretty easy to just dismiss the whole thing as a silly and pointless exercise if they weren’t implicitly supporting transphobia simply by signing. I do hope that this comes back to haunt every single one of them.

  2. remyporter says

    Ugh, I’m just disappointed that Tony Robinson (of Blackadder, Time Team, and a number of very good documentaries) felt the need to take to Twitter, first to retweet this drek, and then hours later, double down and say that he would have gleefully signed it himself if he had been asked to.

  3. harryblack says

    Few things occur to me:
    – I wonder if they mostly share a publisher or agent?
    – The language of the petition ‘attacking women online’ betrays the hand of people who have heard the language of anti racism and anti sexism but dont actually understand the concepts and dynamics themselves. They think that using an identity label is a get out of jail free card. The answer is not ‘dont criticise bigoted women’ its criticise all bigoted people.
    – Good to see Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the list. She never fails to have a shitty take.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    She has been subjected to an onslaught of abuse that highlights an insidious authoritarian and misogynistic trend in social media

    That’s rich. However, it does mesh with the Right-Wing Tactical Handbook: “Deflect criticism by accusing your opponents with your doing.”

  5. redlenin says

    “It’s bad when an American can say Britain is even worse than we are.”
    You’ve got to be kidding!!! We have our own Trump (but just a pussycat compared to him) and also lots of racism and sexism (what country hasn’t?). Nothing that comes close to what you see and suffer in the States, though. And most of us aren’t armed to the hilt either.

  6. mistershelden says

    And the very last name on the list is….

    ….Ophelia Benson. I feel like I’ve seen that name somewhere before. Must have been a bad dream.

  7. says

    At least one person is on that list three times unless there are three different writers named Julie Newman (the name jumped out at me because I misread it as Julie Newmar at first).

    I wish I could be shocked and saddened by Cleese, but this isn’t his first time shocking and saddening me.

  8. beholder says

    Fix your priorities, U.K.

    Julian Assange is rotting away in one of your dungeons — he could really use some of your solidarity right about now, and yet you waste your sympathy on a fabulously wealthy bigot whose idea of adversity is people saying mean things on Twitter.

    Then again, I see some of the usual suspects on that list. It’s hard to say if Rowling is better or worse off associating with such slimy people.

  9. unclefrogy says

    like her books which glorify public school education (private boarding schools) that list is a product of a class system. anything that threatens the existing order is and must be condemned.
    signing such a list is about identifying with the class elites and supporting the “old order”

    I do not understand how these stories became such a big deal really. A kid is being ushered in to the knowledge of the magic of power and how to use it to maintain “proper order” that he is middle class and not upper class gentry is the hoke the idea is to maintain the preferred existing order .
    I really hate this shit.
    uncle frogy

  10. says

    I’m tempted to sign it as Transwomen R. Women, but perhaps the best thing would be to ignore it, except for taking note who has signed it.

  11. JustaTech says

    5 names in and I’m already disappointed by two of them. Mr. Cleese, Mr. Robinson, what’s up with this?

    My question is, is it worth trying to take them to task (via Twitter)? Or are they too far gone? Do they understand why people are upset with JKR, or do they just see all the furor?

    unclefroggy@9: How they became a big deal is that the HP books, especially the early ones, are very readable, and for the age group they were written for, that’s really important. A lot of people found a love of reading in those books, where they hadn’t found it in other books. So it filled a need and captured a moment. And they’re well-written and exciting and a lot of people really connected with them.

  12. anthrosciguy says

    Isn’t JK Rowling one of the people who has been “targeting women online”? Why does she get not just a pass, but support from these folks (who are either not nice people or just haven’t thought very hard or clearly about what they’re endorsing.

  13. Ben G says

    Agree 100%. JKR’s transphobia is disgusting, and her “supporters” sticking up for this billionaire with a big following and her hideous outdated views should be ashamed of themselves.

  14. unclefrogy says

    @11
    I understand that , she captured the experience of childhood in such a place with a well written series of books.
    She captured a place and time a very important thing in storytelling. Like Ender’s Game the protagonist’s view point and experience is well drawn and visceral, it is the values and ideals that surround the protagonist that are so conventional. John Wayne as a kid.
    uncle frogy

  15. says

    There are a billion people on the internet. Of course someone as famous of Rowling is going to get misogynistic abuse, and speaking out against it is a good thing.

    The conflation of misogynistic abuse with disagreement and non-violent boycott, however, is fucked-the-hell-up. Why do people find it so hard to say,

    Violence is bad. Threats are bad. Please don’t use them.

    and then stop it there. Why do people have to go on with their bullshit and make even denunciations of threats and violence into confused and useless muddles?

  16. garnetstar says

    Talk about performative actions! Not to mention, obeisance. Because JK is the only person in the world, or perhaps the only precious and valuable person in the world, who has ever experienced valid criticism, or abusive words and violence threats, on the internet. Get in line.

    In actual fact, I am certain that she was receiving the usual great quantity of abuse and threats before she made her bigoted transphobic statements, just because she’s a famous woman on the internet. But, as we know, people who are bigots just can’t stand being accurately called bigots, so that has to stop! /sarcasm

  17. aspleen says

    Why anyone thinks they can win a battle of wits with John Cleese is beyond me. Also, he’s right you know. And don’t talk about the war…

  18. says

    @anthrosciguy

    Isn’t JK Rowling one of the people who has been “targeting women online”?

    I honestly have no idea. I don’t follow her. She’s clearly engaging in bigotry in general, and targeting trans communities & trans advocacy communities, but I don’t know if she’s targeted any individuals, woman or otherwise. (I wouldn’t be surprised, but I honestly don’t know).

    And I do draw a distinction between, “You, over there! Yeah, you! You suck,” and “Y’know, I think all people who belong to X group suck.” It’s not that one is necessarily better or worse than the other, just that they’re different.

    So it’s at least possible to draw a distinction between “saying bigoted things online” and “targeting women online”. I honestly doubt the signers have really thought it through the way I’m doing, but logic and language both permit the possibility.

  19. blf says

    There is a counter-letter, More than 200 writers and publishers sign letter in support of trans and non-binary people:

    Described as ‘a message of love and solidarity’ and with signatories including Jeanette Winterson and Malorie Blackman, it comes days after a host of prominent literary names signed a letter defending JK Rowling

    […]

    The letter […] was pulled together by acclaimed writers Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Daisy Johnson. With signatories also including Juno Dawson, Elizabeth Day, Max Porter, Nikesh Shukla, Sara Collins, Irenosen Okojie, Mary Jean Chan, Naoise Dolan, Olivia Sudjic, Sharlene Teo and Patrick Ness, it states that “non-binary lives are valid, trans women are women, trans men are men, trans rights are human rights”.

    […]

  20. blf says

    @23, Additional context (not much in this case), and to counter any possible claims the letter is being ignored by the media.

  21. William George says

    It’s bad when an American can say Britain is even worse than we are

    I think you forgot that America was founded by bigoted Brits. It’s in the DNA so to speak…

  22. microraptor says

    It’s not surprising that Cleese supports her. He supported Brexit because London wasn’t a white city anymore.

  23. gijoel says

    @SQB I was tempted to sign it with an obvious drag name, but I don’t feel like giving these idiots oxygen.

  24. chrislawson says

    aspleen–

    I know you were making an oblique Python joke there, but it does raise the fact that Cleese has slowly turned adjacent-MRA in recent years.

    I haven’t really had much interest in Taylor Swift, but my respect for her jumped a thousand fold when she was on a British chat show (Graham Norton) where Cleese gave a brief tirade about how terrible women were because of his divorce settlement and then tried to rope Swift into agreeing with him with a comment about how cats were preferable to dogs because “they’re unpredictable and cussed, like women.” Swift slapped down the comedy legend with a simple but very dismissive “We don’t want to go there.”

    When a person as comedically gifted as Cleese resorts to awful and unclever sexist jokes and expects to be praised for them, it shows how much his brain has rotted.

  25. Silentbob says

    John Cleese, Tony Robinson, and… Griff Rhys Jones. :-(

    Oldies like me (at least those familiar with British comedy) know him from Not the Nine O’clock News, and Alas, Smith and Jones.

    Breaks my heart when people I admired who used to skewer bigotry are like, “You want me to sign a letter defending a bigot because a tiny fraction of a percent of the criticism of her fans was expressed in violent language, thereby pretending it’s the reaction that’s the problem and not the bigotry? No probs. Where do I sign?”.

    sigh

    Here’s a funny sketch of Jones (with Rowan Atkinson) from when he knew what bigotry was:

    https://youtu.be/teSPN8sVbFU?t=20

  26. Silentbob says

    Oh, and #RIPJKRowling was an ironic tags created by Harry Potter fans, referring to her killing her career. (The same people also started an equally serious meme that Britney Spears wrote Harry Potter.) This was reported in the UK press as “death threats”.

    Be aware, when you hear TERFs claim Rowling got “death threats” that this is the sort of bullshit misrepresentation they engage in.

  27. anym says

    @beholder

    Fix your priorities, U.K.

    Julian Assange is rotting away in one of your dungeons — he could really use some of your solidarity right about now,

    Assuming, of course, that you’re happy to show solidarity with a rapist who’s a fan of Trump, Putin and le Pen.

  28. dusk says

    I’m sorry but she did and does get death and rape threats, and has been a victim of domestic abuse in the past. Just because you disagree with her doesn’t mean they don’t count. I’ve only recently discovered this ‘issue’ as its inescapable recently on twitter, and whilst there are toxic people on both sides of the debates, the rape threats and the like are mostly coming from the trans activists side. The letter and petition are standing against the abuse JKR receives, and there’s a lot of it on her twitter feed. Even when she was posting kids pictures from her latest book there were wierdos posting misogynistic abuse and death/rape threats about lady dicks. As far as I can tell from reading her letters all she has said is she believes in sex based rights and that replacing them with “gender” puts women at greater risk of abuse or oppression. She hasn’t criticized trans people at all – can someone please quote what she has said that is transphobic as I can’t get my head around it. What has she said that deserves this? Is not buying 100% into gender ideology transphobic? I don’t have a gender identity does that make me transphobic? She’s not denying anyones existence or saying trans people are perverts, she says the opposite. Its purely because she won’t agree on something as abstract as gender that she’s attacked, and there are lots of people who also don’t identify with a ‘gender’. Even eddie redmayne, who disagrees with JKR but signed the letter or spoke on it because he believes you can disagree without wishing for someones death, was getting dragged for speaking out.

  29. says

    @dusk 32
    No one here is connected with abuse directed at JKR and it’s irrelevant to their politics. If you continue to try to make this into a platform for their views you will face pushback.

    What JKR is getting sucks and it doesn’t mean anything relative to the social issue she chose to join. I see women and trans women getting abuse in the social interactions around sex and gender issues. You want to fight internet abuse, good. Don’t act like it means JKR has anything of worth.

  30. says

    dusk

    I’ve only recently discovered this ‘issue’ as its inescapable recently on twitter, and whilst there are toxic people on both sides of the debates, the rape threats and the like are mostly coming from the trans activists side.

    Yeah, you’re definitely new to this. Because I can assure you, I’ve had my share of hatred levelled at me by “gender critical people”, and I’m not even trans, just a cis woman who sees through their bullshit and who is seriously concerned about their attempts to redefine women as baby making machines, because that’s their whole argument. Oh, and we are of course inherently inferior to cis men, that’s why we need protection like a cute but rare animal.

    <

    blockquote>

    As far as I can tell from reading her letters all she has said is she believes in sex based rights and that replacing them with “gender” puts women at greater risk of abuse or oppression.

    Sex based rights are bullshit. sex based rights are a term that didn’t exist 5 years ago and has absolutely no legal value whatsoever. It was made up wholecloth by “gender critical” people who want to, again, redefine women as baby incubators. Oh, and talking about rape: did you know that many “gender critical” people believe that a cis woman cannot rape a person because she has no penis? Talk about people downplaying rape…
    Also, yes,a s a woman, I’m facing oppression. None of it has come from trans women.

    She hasn’t criticized trans people at all – can someone please quote what she has said that is transphobic as I can’t get my head around it.

    Well, she has repeatedly objected to women being called “people” as in “people who menstruate” because she believes that only women can menstruate 8and all women menstruate). that’s both transphobic and misogynistic, because I’m actually a person, thank you very much. And then she just published a whole fucking novel with a scary murderer who is, surprise, a cis guy dressing up as a woman, as if her own shitty novel was proof that there’s actually a risk to women by cis guys dressing up as women if we fully accept trans women for who they are: women.

  31. says

    the rape threats and the like are mostly coming from the trans activists side.

    [CITATION NEEDED]

    IME, TERFs accuse “trans-rights activists” of the very things they, themselves, are doing.

  32. says

    @WMDKitty 35
    I thought that had the feel of being the same kind of thing the statement was claiming. It’s a pretty disparaging thing to say without anything but one’s own text, and very assuming to bring to people critical of JKR as if what, we have abusive brains too?

    I’m working on responses that don’t like like I’m trying to debate.

  33. says

    @Brony — Just like all abusers, TERFs engage in the age-old tactic of DARVO. In this case, the sending of death/rape threats, we know TERFs have no problem sending such threats, its not an unknown tactic to infiltrate and escalate activity within activist groups, and given the general level of honesty displayed by TERFs, it’s a reasonable conclusion that the threats are coming from inside the house, so to speak.

    Of course, all that is assuming JK is being honest about receiving such threats. (TERFs lie as easily as they breathe.)

  34. dusk says

    @Brony, Social Justice Cenobite 33 sorry I should of referenced the post two above mine that was indicating that #RIPJKR was ironic and no one meant it, apparently its bullshit that she receives abuse.

    @Giliell I don’t deny there will be some abusive gender critical people. I was referring to JKR twitter feed and on all of the posts regarding the letter and people voicing support for her, it definitely looks pretty one sided too me but I could be wrong. What do you mean about “inherently inferior to cis men and need protection”? Cis men are in general bigger, stronger and quicker and attack women at far greater rates than vice versa. So because you don’t want protection from men no other women are allowed it? That’s all sex based rights are referring to, do you want to do away with changing rooms, bathrooms, womens gyms, refuges, womens sports etc? She didn’t object to women being called people, she objected to use of the term ‘people who menstruate’ to refer to a medical condition that only affects the female sex (and like 1% of people who are intersex I guess), so its using gender to describe biology – I can see the case for being more inclusive but why not say ‘women and people who menstruate’ instead of trying to erase women as medical term, meaning adult human female. Also, in the letters I read she never once said that trans women will oppress her, her concern was Self-ID means anyone can declare themselves a woman, without seeing a Dr, taking hormones, surgery etc and that she felt that could be abused by predatory MEN not trans women. What I don’t get is that surely either way if someone wants to change gender they should be speaking to a Dr??
    And the novel thing is totally nonsense, have you read it? For a start it’s cross dressing (based on two real serial killers) not trans, and it’s barely mentioned. My mother bought it so I read it the other day.

    @WMDKitty — Survivor I mean I could post examples if you want, as I said there are toxic people on both sides and there’s no shortage of people collating pages and pages of abusive tweets to her. Again though I’ve only been reading JKR threads. I’ve never heard of DARVO before, but I can see how it might be applicable here. Purely being critical of gender ideology could be seen as being abusive while denying any abuse is taking place.

  35. zoilean says

    So I can see that myself (and dusk) are in the minority here and I know there’s no way we’ll convince any of you.
    But I’ll post anyway because it’s really important anyone reading this blog knows that most of what’s been said above is simply untrue.

    The initial blog is basically just abuse so not much to say except that I do find it sad on a supposedly rationalist website to find so many blogs that are just hurling ad hominem attacks with little or no evidence or argument.

    In the comments there are a few specific claims:

    It’s repeatedly stated the JK Rowling is transphobic and a bigot.
    JKR is not transphobic in that she has no hatred or even dislike of trans people which she’s made very clear.
    She stated many times she wants trans people to be able to live with dignity and equality. There are endless reams written about how what she said was transphobic but what they mean is that (some) trans rights activists disagree with her. They’re completely entitled to disagree and to argue that she’s wrong – but calling her transphobic (quite aside from sending rape and death threats) devalues the fight against real transphobia and actually hurts trans people.
    Again and again people who attack her are asked to quote a single bigoted or transphobic thing. They always deflect.

    – I wonder if they mostly share a publisher or agent?
    No – definitely not. This is an incredibly wide ranging group of people – including many who are highly respected and famous in many fields. Check out the list – it’s growing.

    Sex based rights are bullshit. sex based rights are a term that didn’t exist 5 years ago and has absolutely no legal value whatsoever.

    Completely untrue, at least in the UK. The 1975 Sex Discrimination act was a huge step forward for women and it clearly established rights based on sex. The most recent act, the 2010 Equality act lists Sex (not gender) as a protected characteristic again enshrining sex based rights in law. (NB It also lists gender reassignment as a protected characteristic giving trans people the right to live without discrimination – a principle that no one is arguing again).

    You may be right that the specific term “sex based rights” was uncommon. That’s because everyone understood that the term “women’s rights” referred to women as a sex – so the mention of sex was completely unnecessary.

    Now some people are arguing that those rights should be altered so they become gender identity based rather than sex based. I’m sure there are arguments on both sides, but there’s nothing wrong with arguing (as JKR does) that in fact they work better as sex based rights given that sex is something that has objective truth whereas gender identity is entirely unverifiable.

    she believes that all women menstruate
    This is so obviously untrue that it’s astonishing someone on a rationalist website would say it. Of course JKR doesn’t think that at menopause she stopped being a women. She was using gentle humour to point out that there is a movement to abolish the word woman (which there is) and that she disapproves. Again, you may disagree but wanting to keep the word woman and for it to mean what the dictionary says (‘adult human female’) is not hate.

    As for whether she’s really received hate – take a look at this and come back to me:
    https://twitter.com/blablafishcakes/status/1311330249288937472?s=20

  36. says

    The transphobes have been reported.

    In addition the casual disparagement of a range of people with just their own text:
    *They are totally replacing the concerns of this post with their political concerns.
    *I see at least one mentioning abuse like it has anything to do with anyone here or our views of JKR’s bigoted beliefs.

    It’s very casually insulting.

  37. Silentbob says

    @40 zoilean

    I do find it sad on a supposedly rationalist website to find so many blogs that are just hurling ad hominem attacks with little or no evidence or argument.

    This isn’t the first post about Rowling. You’re walking in in the middle on a conversation. There has been plenty of “evidence and argument”.

    JKR is not transphobic in that she has no hatred or even dislike of trans people which she’s made very clear.

    Oh gosh, why didn’t you say so! Rowling says she’s not a bigot, so that settles that. How silly of us to listen to the thousands of appalled and disgusted trans people and not the cis bigot who says she’s not a bigot.
    (/sarcasm)

    There are endless reams written about how what she said was transphobic…

    Yes. Yes there are. Did you ever consider, like, reading some of them?

    … but what they mean is that (some) trans rights activists disagree with her.

    Okay, so no. You’ve never read any of them. I must know at least half a dozen long-form detailed descriptions of all the transphobia in her anti-trans screed. She doesn’t have “different opinions”, she presents transphobic myths and lies with no rational basis as though they were fact. Myths and lies that are causing real harm to real people in the real world. Not just people being rude on twitter.

    Again and again people who attack her are asked to quote a single bigoted or transphobic thing. They always deflect.

    YOU JUST SAID THERE ARE ENDLESS REAMS WRITTEN ABOUT HOW WHAT SHE SAID WAS TRANSPHOBIC. How many times to people have do spell it out for you over and over again?

    Completely untrue, at least in the UK. The 1975 Sex Discrimination act was a huge step forward for women and it clearly established rights based on sex.

    The “Sex Discrimination” act was about prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. Not endorsing it. It’s the exact opposite of “sex based rights”. It could just as well be called the “everyone has the same rights regardless of sex” act. What sort of nut interprets an act opposing “sex based rights” as being pro rights based on sex. If you want sex based rights, try Saudi Arabia, I hear they’re big on “sex based rights” there.

    sex is something that has objective truth whereas gender identity is entirely unverifiable.

    I put it to you no sexist man has ever conducted a medical examination before pinching a woman’s bum at the water cooler, or talking over her in a meeting, or passing her over for promotion, or giving her a lower mark on her exam because she has a female name, or catcalling her in the street, etc.,…
    Sexism and misogyny aren’t based on “objective truth”, they’re based on gender presentation and perception.

    there is a movement to abolish the word woman

    Utterly unhinged. You’ve become unmoored from reality. Name me one single advocate of abolishing the word “woman”, you loony.

    take a look at this and come back to me

    You’ve found sixteen examples (out of tens of thousand of responses) of people wishing Rowling dead.

    What about the thousands of people who will suffer because of Rowling’s idiocy in spreading absurd nonsense to her 14 million twitter followers? What about the irreparable damage that’s been done? What about the parents who won’t believe their child when they come out as trans? What about the trans children who are self-harming and suicidal because they feel betrayed by their favourite author. What about all the discrimination in employment and housing trans people will have to put up with because of Rowling spreading absurd memes that trans people somehow threaten women? What about Rowling making the ludicrous claim that, “if I were a kid today I would have been transed”, which is just a coded bigot’s way of saying, “trans people aren’t real, don’t accept them”?

    Are trans people just expected to put up with this shit and not complain? Because of sixteen arseholes they never heard of on twitter? Is that how it works?

    What the fuck wrong with you?

  38. Silentbob says

    In the unlikely event the transphobes that have inevitably shown up want to actually learn something, here are examples of people going into thorough detail about Rowling’s transphobia.

    This one is by a trans woman (and you should always listen to trans people first on the subject of transphobia, duh).

    This is by an AFAB non-binary person (I think, sorry if I got that wrong).

    Read every word, and then don’t you dare ever claim no one has told you what was transphobic in Rowling’s nonsense ever again.

  39. Silentbob says

    In the unlikely event the transphobes that have inevitably shown up want to actually learn something, here are examples of people going into thorough detail about Rowling’s transphobia.

    This one is by a trans woman (and you should always listen to trans people first on the subject of transphobia, duh).

  40. Silentbob says

    I had a second link but for some weird reason WordPress won’t let me post it.

    Google, “JK Rowling’s Anti-Trans Post: A Deep Dive” with quotes. It’s worth it.

    Read every word, and then don’t you dare ever claim no one has told you what was transphobic in Rowling’s nonsense ever again.

  41. zoilean says

    you should always listen to trans people first on the subject of transphobia, duh
    I’m trans you numpty!
    Sorry for not fitting into your narrow preconception of what a trans person thinks.

    You’re walking in in the middle on a conversation. There has been plenty of “evidence and argument”.
    I know and I’ve read much of it. I didn’t say nothing had been written on the topic.
    But I hoped a blog on a rationalist free thought blog would try to add evidence or insight. Not just hurl insults.
    Similarly I hope people will notice that I’ve tried to be respectful whereas the replies to me and others have been full of abuse.

    Rowling says she’s not a bigot, so that settles that.

    Not because she says she isn’t a bigot. I judge her on what she actually says about trans people.
    Here are some true examples of what she said (the thing weirdly missing from the thread so far).

    “I stand alongside the brave women and men, gay, straight and trans who’re standing up for freedom of speech and thought” (Terf Wars, 10 Jun 2020)

    “The writings at young trans men reveal a group of notably sensitive and clever people, with their insightful descriptions of anxiety, dissociation, eating disorders, self harm and self hatred” (Terf Wars, 10 Jun 2020)

    “Transition may be the answer for some.” (Twitter, 5 July 2020)

    “I happen to know a self-described transsexual woman who’s older than am and wonderful. Although she is open about her past as a gay man, I’ve always found it hard to think of her as anything other than a woman, and believe (and certainly hope) she’s completely happy to have transitioned.” Terf Wars 10 Jun 2020)

    “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you, live your best life in peace and security.” (Twitter, Dec. 2019)

    “I believe the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others, but are vulnerable. Trans people need and deserve protection” (Terf Wars, 10 Jun 2020)

    “I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men. So I want trans women to be safe.” (Terf Wars, 10 Jun 2020)

    I do not believe those are the words of a bigot or transphobe.

    so no. You’ve never read any of them
    Yes I have. I’ve read Katie’s and Andrew’s and many others and for all their endless diatribes they never actually find anything that she’s said that’s transphobic in any meaningful sense of the word.

    But here’s you chance, prove me wrong. Quote me one hateful thing she’s said.

    You’ll reply “but there’s too many to choose from” so pick the worst one, the one full of hate and bigotry.
    The quote that anyone reading this will go yup, Zoilean’s wrong, she’s a transphobe.

    I’m genuinely curious to see your reply (if there is one).

    What sort of nut interprets an act opposing “sex based rights” as being pro rights based on sex.
    The point is that to oppose sexism you have to recognize that women are a class oppressed because of their sex, which is what the equality act does. Just as you don’t defeat racism just be saying “let’s all agree race doesn’t matter”. You need to recognise some people are treated differently because of their race / sex (and sometimes I agree gender).

    The 2010 act specially recognizes the need for spaces and services based on sex.
    This blog by a lawyer explains it far better than I ever could or read the act itself if you’d rather:
    https://womansplaceuk.org/2020/07/02/legally-this-is-not-a-trans-rights-issue-its-a-sex-rights-issue-a-blog-about-boxes-audrey-ludwig/

    No sexist man has ever conducted a medical examination before pinching a woman’s bum
    An interesting argument but I don’t think it works. It’s true that when you see a stranger there is no perfect way to tell either their sex OR their gender identity. All you have to go on is outward presentation (which is different from both though also highly correlated with both). So, of course, an abuser might sometimes make a mistake.
    The question is, when they target women (and sexual abusers overwhelmingly target women) – are they targeting women because of their sex, or their gender identity? I genuinely don’t know the answer, though my suspicion is the former. But I’m not a rapist so I don’t know what’s going on in their heads. I’m sure you don’t either.

    So I think it’s an open question how much of the abuse is sex vs gender related. I do know that when a women is actually raped, or when a 10 year old girl has her clitoris mutilated, that’s because of her bodily sex. So I’d argue we should consider both sex and gender identity as factors. The complaint by feminists is that people are trying to remove sex entirely as a factor.

    Name me one single advocate of abolishing the word “woman”, you loony.
    Here you go – Tom Brown @tph110
    https://twitter.com/tph110/status/1289563637011476480?s=20
    “The word “woman” is a dated and transphobic term.
    We need to push the movement for the term “womxn” to be used which includes people with and without cervixes who identify as female.
    That’s it. That’s the tweet.”
    Took me 5 seconds to find.
    Of course not everyone is quite so brazen as Tom. But the erasure is clear.
    For instance the ACLU puts out a statement that “1 in 4 american people has had an abortion”
    In fact it’s 1 in 4 american women have had an abortion. But they clearly wanted to avoid the W word so they changed it even though it makes the statistic completely wrong.

    Then there’s the movement to effectively erase the word woman by making it meaningless. So the dictionary definition “adult human female” is declared transphobic. But what does it mean? My second challenge to you, give me a definition of “woman”. If a word doesn’t have an agreed meaning, it’s that same as being abolished.

    You’ve found sixteen examples

    Sorry, I should have made it clearer that it’s a thread. Scroll down. There are pages and pages of examples. Some pages with 30 tweets on a single page. It’s unhinged.
    But actually more significant is that any women who says something even slightly at odds with this ideology gets similar threats and abuse (albeit not in such large numbers). That’s the real hate we’re fighting.
    JKR is strong enough to look after herself – but the abuse of her scares thousands of others into silence.
    Finally that silence is being broken.

    What about the irreparable damage that’s been done?

    You know what really hurts trans people? It’s the people who amplify hate and turn women who should be allies into enemies. It’s those who have prevented what we desperately need – to work together to sort out a way to give trans people and women the protections they need – by making the whole question so toxic people dare not speak out.
    It’s those people, trans and cis, who have devalued the word transphobic by throwing it at anyone who doesn’t agree 100% with their ideology.
    So don’t lecture me on what’s best for trans people. Hatred always hurts the most vulnerable.
    If you want to help women and trans people then you need to be on the side fighting hatred – not attacking those who condemn it.

  42. zoilean says

    Apologies for the formatting on my last comment – it’s mixed up what I said and what Silentbob said which I was attempting to quote. Hopefully any readers can work it out.

  43. says

    They cannot point to any single thing that is “transphobic” because in their world view simply not accepting that “trans women are women” is itself transphobic.

    That’s why all these long form rambling pieces like Katie Montgomerie’s use so many words to say so little.

    To the faithful, every single word is evidence of Rowling’s crimes.

    To everyone else, it is a big bag of nothing.

    And so much of this is because the US has such a woeful set of rights, that to say a transwoman is not a woman is tantamount to a denial of basic rights.

    Whereas in the UK, it is a statement of the obvious, and an accurate reflection of the rights and protections here. Transwomen here have more rights than women in the US. You don’t even have statutory paid maternity leave ffs. You’re way down the international rankings, but powerful enough to dictate to the rest of the world, dragging us down to your level.

    Simply disagreeing is transphobia. It is quite incredible to watch. There can be no other explanation but fear and hate, and everyone that doesn’t go along with it, doesn’t say the words, repeat the mantras, truly believe it in their heart, is a heretic.

    Having been through the “evidence” so many times in so many different ways, that’s really all there is to it – you aren’t allowed to think differently. You aren’t allowed to even believe that sex is immutable materially important.

    Ten years ago I would have laughed long and hard if someone suggested this, but now it is so serious, because simplistic US rhetoric is being used to undermine far more robust rights frameworks across the world, to the universal detriment of women.

    And supposed skeptics like Myers are cheering on utterly totalitarian behaviour.

    Last year I rewrote the conclusions of the Forstater judgement to refer to Creationism instead of Gender Identity. Maybe that will open people’s eyes, but I don’t hold out much hope.

    https://medium.com/@dave_45588/compelled-belief-and-intelligent-design-92138b5d37e8?source=friends_link&sk=483e8ca70f186858108faf03633b6c95

  44. David Marjanović says

    Is not buying 100% into gender ideology transphobic?

    What is “gender ideology”?

    I don’t have a gender identity does that make me transphobic?

    What… no.

    My limited experience even goes the other way: I’ve known transphobes who don’t have a gender identity, can’t imagine anyone else has one, and conclude from this lack of imagination that everyone who claims to have one must be either brainwashed or lying for some nefarious purpose – the term “fifth column of the patriarchy” has come up.

    Mind you, a gender identity really isn’t much. Mine seems to be limited to the fact that I’ve always taken for granted being “the same kind” as the boys and not as the girls, without feeling that that’s an artificial classification based on nothing but extrapolations from genital anatomy. In other words, my understanding when I was little was “boys have outtie genitals” instead of “kids with outtie genitals are called boys, so therefore I’m one”.

    Since then, of course, I’ve learned that some people have gender identities that don’t line up with their genital anatomy or whatever. That’s what “transgender” means.

    You don’t even have statutory paid maternity leave ffs. You’re way down the international rankings, but powerful enough to dictate to the rest of the world, dragging us down to your level.

    Uh, yes – but you’re not exactly talking to the US government here on this blog. Blaming the author or the commenters for Trump or Reagan isn’t going to work.

  45. David Marjanović says

    Oops, typo in my HTML – I meant “have gender identities that don’t“.

  46. says

    Now cherry-picking things that seem nice supposedly mean someone is nice. That’s no reason to believe anything and it’s just another attempt to bait people into debating.

    And so many accusations about other people without anything but the author’s text come along with the cherry-picking. Trying to get people debate while making accusations about them. It’s pretty gross

  47. says

    Recent engagements on this issue have me wondering if I’m in the “gender null” part of non-binary. I don’t feel anything for the words but I don’t like seeing people get forced to use anything or forced into associated culture things.

  48. zoilean says

    David H – you make a very good point about the US vs the UK.
    I wonder if people outside the UK know that we’ve had full equal rights legislation for trans people here for over 10 years.
    And what’s more – it’s totally uncontroversial.
    That’s right – all those transphobes and ‘terfs’ like JKR are fully supportive of the legal protections that guarantee that no one is discriminated against for being trans.

    Like you I’m saddened that so many in the rationalist community seem to have lost the ability (or perhaps the willingness) to engage in rational discussion on the topic.
    I think part of it is fear. Just on this page I (and other signatories) have been called, nasty, stupid, an asshole, horrible, slimy, utterly unhinged and a loony. No wonder most sensible people see the discussion and just walk away.

    Of course that leaves only the bullies standing and gives the impression that everyone believes the same – which is why the letter/petition is so important. At last there is starting to be safety in numbers (though a few signers have already faced real world consequences – just for saying no to hatred).
    But hopefully now more people will be willing to stand up to the bullies and say it’s OK to raise questions and have a respectful debate.

    In the meantime we wait for someone to come up with even 1 transphobic thing JKR has said….

  49. says

    Zoilean – it seems to be a big factor, since in the US it seems that their rights are not structured the same.

    So they see a claim for “sex-based rights” as some abhorrent and exclusionary act (or, as was claimed bizarrely in this thread, a lie)

    Whereas I see it as recognition that sex is one of the 9 protected characteristics, and rightly so.

    Trans people shouldn’t be discriminated against.

    Women shouldn’t be discriminated against.

    I don’t have to construct some fiction where a trans woman is actually literally a woman to achieve that – indeed, doing so actually undermines those rights.

    We have a rights framework that is intersectional – and people calling themselves “intersectional” are trying to erase one axis from that framework, and claim this is progressive.

    So we have the conflict. The US demand trans women are women, because without that, they lack rights.

    In the UK, demanding trans women are women grants female rights to male people in a way legislation was specifically designed to exclude, achieves no greater protections for trans people, while diminishing protections for women.

    It is so obviously regressive, and that’s why so much opposition in the UK actually comes from the materialist left.

    Some of this is really, really simple and logical, but impossible to talk about when people cannot get past the idea that unless you say “trans women are women” you are a hateful transphobe. I’ve heard it so much without cause that it is meaningless now.

    For years we’ve had a world class rights framework. In 2015 we were no. 1 in Europe. That rights framework hasn’t changed.

    We are trying to have a detailed, technical debate about real world consequences, and it is getting absolutely ruined by misinformation, weird magical thinking, and absolute meaningless garbage like “trans rights are human rights”. What does that even mean! Who do you think disagrees with that? What does that add? Madness.

  50. Aoife_b says

    Maybe asking trans folk in the UK how their rights are going would be a good idea?
    For instance: requiring a spouse’s consent to legally transition
    Discriminatory treatment by the NHS
    Allowing a faceless panel to deny certificates for no discernable reason without accountability

  51. says

    Fascinating.

    I did a search of FTB and there are people who have discussed or linked to JKR’s behavior and why it’s transphobic. So even if no one here wants to respond to a transphobes political pressure if they actually cared about it they have places to go.

    There are places to get this information. They could already be engaging with someone’s reason. They could even be asking about that reason here, though that would still be ignoring the blog post they are politically displaying in. And letting another transphobe keep making disparaging comments based on nothing but their own text.

    If no one here engages with them it means nothing with respect to any specific claim by anyone. But you can see them making all kinds of conclusions based on things they aren’t quoting.

    They want to make demands here, they don’t want to engage with claims about JKR.

  52. says

    @52 (Also adding to Aoife_b’s comments)

    Trans people without gender dysphoria are not allowed to get gender recognition in the U.K. This is a real burden to those who do not suffer this but wish their gender recognized. It also medicalizes being trans which is very stigmatizing.

    Also trans women can be denied access to single sex spaces in the U.K. which is flat out discrimination.

    As for JK being hateful how about her linking to a store with anti-trans merchandise?

    @53 David Hewitt I also don’t believe anyone who claims they don’t discriminate when they class trans women as separate from women instead of as a subset of women. Denying someone’s existence is obviously discrimination.

  53. zoilean says

    Maybe asking trans folk in the UK how their rights are going would be a good idea

    I am a trans person in the UK. What do you want to know?

    I think it’s a great place to be trans with a good balance of rights – but (like the US) it has a toxic culture war created by trans rights extremists spreading hate and creating unnecessary conflict .

    Brony – apologies, I’ve read all your posts and attempted to understand them. I’m afraid I can’t work out what you’re saying or who it’s aimed at. My dimness I’m sure.

    As for JK being hateful how about her linking to a store with anti-trans merchandise?

    She bought a t-shirt (about witch hunts: humerous, totally non offensive and nothing to do with trans people) and linked to the shop where she got it. It’s quite possible that shop sells things that you (and indeed JKR) may not approve of.
    You might have shared a link to amazon at some point. I bet (actually I know) they sell some pretty horrible things.

    But thanks for at least giving an answer. It’s great to actually get a response to the question.
    That’s a good point for me to bow out of this conversation I think.

    Lets both agree that that’s the most transphobic thing she’s done.

    So to sum up – JKR has shown numerous times that she respects and has empathy for trans people and wants them to live in peace and dignity. But on the other hand she bought something from a shop that sells other things that some people think are transphobic.

    Anyone who reads this thread can make up their mind as to whether that makes her deserving of hate.

  54. says

    aoife_b

    For instance: requiring a spouse’s consent to legally transition

    This is false. You need a spouse’s consent to remain married after transition. Which makes absolute sense since marriage is a legally binding contract and both parties have a say in it. If you change the terms of the contract, someone has the right to exit.

    Discriminatory treatment by the NHS

    I mean, discrimination by trans status is already unlawful so I don’t know what you’re on about here, you need to be specific.

    Allowing a faceless panel to deny certificates for no discernable reason without accountability

    This is a hyperbolic way of describing things, and the government has just committed to putting it all online and making it even cheaper, so what specifically do you want?

    This is where self-id comes into play. Either you have some gatekeeping, or no gatekeeping. We can discuss how much gatekeeping there should be to get a GRC and to make the process as painless as possible, but if you demand no gatekeeping and call anyone that says otherwise is a bigot, then discussion is futile.

  55. says

    @zoilean
    I’m dissecting out pieces of transphobic political behavior. Sometimes it’s one person. Sometimes it’s more than one person.

    Sometimes it’s you. Like how you are others are continuing to platform for someone getting political criticism by using the sadly common bad treatment of politically active women. None of that bad behavior has anything to do with the correctness or correctness of anything but you still want use it cram the views of someone considered to be transphobic.

    And desparagment about trans rights activists based on nothing but your own text. Like others you just want to sling insults and shove a platform and don’t even try to engage with the post.

    And it’s fine to critisize someone for supporting a store with objectionable content. You might not want to be critisized for such but that doesn’t make it an invalid means of criticism let alone a reason why JKR matters. So much political garbage.

  56. says

    @brony
    I have been through the arguments many times, and I find them thoroughly unconvincing. I’ve engaged in good faith with pieces like that Katie Montgomerie one, but attempts to even discuss this stuff falls apart because, fundamentally, as we see in this thread unless you say “trans women are women” you’re hateful.

    But to me it is like trying to get me to call trousers “pants”. It isn’t going to happen. And it has exactly that level of hate attached to it. You’re using words in a way I disagree with. I think your ontology is flawed, and your attempts to get me to change my ontology to match are wholly unconvincing.

    I’m not saying you can’t construct language the way you are – clearly you can. But I disagree with it, and the bizarre gaslighting that it has always been this way is frankly a sign of how fragile this whole thing is.

    If you want me to engage in good faith with the points in that KM piece, I’m game.

    Starting from the very first:

    KM gets the Forstater case wrong. She makes a number of assertions about why Forstater lost her job that are unsubstantiatable because the tribunal has not ruled on them. Due to the order of proceedings (as you can see in the judgement itself, should you read it), the first item was to rule on whether the belief itself was protectable.

    Since the judge ruled it wasn’t, all other points were moot. When the case comes to appeal, maybe this will change.

    This is important, and where the judge erred in some opinion, because in ruling the belief unprotected, the judge went beyond simple belief and into actions that he speculated might arise, despite Forstater’s declarations to the contrary. So the judge ruled that the belief as laid out by Forstater (ie that sex is real, and materially important) is unprotected, and you can lawfully be discriminated against for holding this belief, even if you never do anything about it or express it in any way.

    In the UK you cannot be discriminated against for believing homosexuals will burn in hell. But you can be sacked if you go round telling gay co-workers they’re evil. There is a distinction between holding a belief, and acting upon it – and Forstater was explicitly not asking for free rein to do the latter.

    That’s why this (thankfully non-binding) ruling simply has to be overturned on appeal, because think for one moment what it would mean if the inverse were true. The idea that belief in gender identity could be grounds for sacking. I don’t want that. No sane person wants simple beliefs rendered sackable. Especially not beliefs that are 100% in alignment with current UK equality law.

    Katie Montgomerie says:

    it involved months of (still ongoing) campaigning to take away the rights that trans women have today

    This is untrue. It is blatantly untrue. It is a pure assertion with zero evidence, and you cannot substantiate this because the evidence simply doesn’t exist. At no point before losing her job was she campaigning to take away rights.

    So, please, prove to me Katie’s statement. I say it is 100% false. Unless we can agree really simple shared facts like this, we can’t get anywhere, because this case is central to the abuse people have been receiving.

  57. says

    60 is gross.
    Paragraph 1: “all of those people are wrong and said bad things about me”
    Paragraph 2: “I’m going to keep trying to argue with you using something other than JKR”
    Paragraph 3: “I’m going to claim something is gaslighting while I keep trying to critisize what trans people are expressing”

    The rest is literally trying to argue with me some more about the non-JKR thing like it’s at all relevant to the topic of the post.

  58. Silentbob says

    @ 60 David Hewitt

    unless you say “trans women are women” you’re hateful.

    Transphobic, yeah.

    Kinda like if you say, “black people aren’t really as human as white people”, you’re racist. Or say, “the only natural sex is reproductive, therefore homosexuality is a perversion”, you’re homophobic. Yes, if you say, “only cis people’s identities are valid, and trans people’s can be dismissed”, you’re transphobic. Spot on. But not exactly rocket science is it.

    But to me it is like trying to get me to call trousers “pants”.

    Right. Because trousers are human beings with a right to self-determination.

    Does it even occur to you how insulting this is? It’s like if a woman chose not to take her husband’s name in marriage and wants you to call her Ms MaidenName instead of Mrs HusbandsName, and you’re like, “Nah, I insist on calling you Mrs HusbandsName because it’s the same as calling pants trousers”. Give your head a wobble, mate. One thing is not like the other.

    If you want me to engage in good faith with the points in that KM piece, I’m game.

    Now this bit just honestly made me literally LOL. Mate, NO ONE GIVES A FUCK. I mean I can only speak for myself, but I’m going to out on a limb and guess no one gives a fuck if you engage in anything in good faith or otherwise. Feel free to fuck off at any time.

    The Forstater case is completely off-topic. If you want someone to re-litigate the Forstater case with you I think you’re shit out of luck. I’ll address one thing because I don’t want it to go unchallenged:

    Katie Montgomerie says:

    it involved months of (still ongoing) campaigning to take away the rights that trans women have today

    This is untrue. It is blatantly untrue. It is a pure assertion with zero evidence, and you cannot substantiate this because the evidence simply doesn’t exist. At no point before losing her job was she campaigning to take away rights.

    Here’s a single tweet by Forstater from the hundreds a week she was sending that caused her to lose her job. It clearly
    – uses “males” to mean transgender people
    – states the opinion that such “males” should not have access to various gender segregated spaces

    Montgomerie’s point is that trans women presently access such spaces perfectly legally, and Forstater is advocating the position that it should not be so. Looks like a perfectly fair interpretation to me.

    this case is central to the abuse people have been receiving.

    Nope. Forstater could never have existed and people would still be just as appalled at Rowling’s bigotry.

    P.S. No feminist should want Forstater to have won her case. Had she won, it would mean misogyny could be claimed as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. Forstater surely knows this but doesn’t care. Her vendetta against trans people is more important to her than actual women’s rights. Bigotry rots the brain.

  59. Silentbob says

    Oh, in case people don’t know what I’m talking about, in the UK some bigoted idiot got fired for tweeting hundreds of tweets a week of bigoted idiocy for months. She then absurdly tried to take her employer to court, arguing that her bigotry should be a “protected philosophical belief”. That is, like race or religion or sexual orientation, it should be illegal to discriminate against her on that basis.

    The judge, of course, not in so many words, told her to fuck off. The exact words, I think, were that her beliefs were, “incompatible with human dignity”, and, “not worthy of respect in a democratic society”. :-)

  60. says

    @silentbob

    Kinda like if you say, “black people aren’t really as human as white people”, you’re racist.

    This is a terrible example, and frankly pretty racist that you think it is comparable.

    A more analogous (and less deliberately inflammatory) situation one is the distinction between legal parentage, and biological parentage. I believe it is right that adoptive parents be considered wholly the parent of a child, socially and legally, that they be given specific rights to protect this, and that they should not be subject to harrassment or discrimination on this basis.

    But that does not mean they are literally related to a child, something that matters in a narrow set of circumstances, for example organ donation or hereditary illness.

    The Forstater case is completely off-topic.

    No, it is central – in this thread the KM piece has been linked as evidence, and it is the very first item. If it is off-topic, why was it raised in this thread? If you don’t think it is relevant, don’t cite that KM piece in evidence. But you have, so I’m taking it on good faith, point by point, and now you don’t like it?

    And in any case it is pivotal because Rowling was monstered in 2019 specifically for tweeting about Forstater, and only that. If you can demonstrate that the criticism of Forstater is wrong, then the criticism of Rowling’s tweet is wrong, and 6 months of scorn and violent threats were triggered by people who were misled in a reactionary fashion.

    Here’s a single tweet by Forstater from the hundreds a week she was sending that caused her to lose her job.

    I made a very simple claim – Forstater did not campaign to remove rights. Please explain how campaigning to keep the law as-is removes rights?

    Because that’s what KM (and you) have asserted. The removal of rights. How is that achieved by keeping rights as they currently are? How does not changing anything, change anything? The GRA reform was dropped the other week – what rights were lost in the process?

    Montgomerie’s point is that trans women presently access such spaces perfectly legally

    So – how does not changing the law affect whatever rights KM thinks trans people have?

    @silentbob, please stick to the facts and dial back the hyperbole. Just because you keep calling someone a bigot, doesn’t make it so, and more than anything is a cover for the fact that you have not – and cannot – prove it to be the case.

  61. says

    @silentbob
    Also, you keep misrepresenting the Forstater case.

    Bluntly – you don’t know what tweets were at issue, because it has never been established in court what she lost her job over.

    But your standard for being a “bigoted idiot” is so low as to be not worth regarding, seeing as “accurately describing existing UK law” seems to be bigoted idiocy to you.

    You’ve presented one tweet thread, and it didn’t support your claims.

    As for the judgement itself, “worthy of respect in a democratic society” is part of the test for whether a belief is protected, not the judge’s opinion. He is just using the wording of the Grainger test.

    And I can see how it might be problematic if you’re in the US, where employment protections are frankly shocking, but personally I think that beliefs should be protected very broadly, like in the UK, as long as you do not express them in the workplace.

    For example, the notorious full-of-shit Damore memo. I profoundly disagree with the content, but – had he expressed it in private – I would consider that to be the sort of thing that should be protected. That is, he can believe what he likes, as long as he leaves it at the door. Expressing it in the workplace though, or treating coworkers worse on that basis, is valid grounds for action.

    These are two different things. I can accept that having misogynist beliefs like this – even though I think they are wrong and misguided and based on false information – can be protected, because I believe in strong protections for workers. This is not incompatible with disciplining people in the workplace for failing to treat coworkers with respect. If your beliefs affect your work, then you can be sacked.

    Else, how easy is it to go from saying this is unprotected, to being an anticapitalist is unprotected?

  62. John Morales says

    David claims that it’s utterly not transphobic to think trans women don’t belong in women’s spaces. The only non-contradictory basis for that claim is to believe trans women aren’t women.

    I grant that to such as they, merely denying the reality of transgenderism is not technically transphobia.

    @64:

    @silentbob

    Kinda like if you say, “black people aren’t really as human as white people”, you’re racist.

    This is a terrible example, and frankly pretty racist that you think it is comparable.

    It’s a perfectly apposite example, since you hold that trans women aren’t really as womanly as cis women, and should therefore be treated as not women.

  63. Silentbob says

    @ David Hewitt

    Oh well, I stand corrected. Now that John Morales has turned up maybe you will find someone who does want to re-litigate the Forstater case with you.

    Nothing he like better than a good, old-fashioned, protracted evisceration of a chewtoy.

    Have fun. X-D

  64. says

    I’ve made a claim: campaigning to preserve rights as-is is not campaigning to take rights away. You’ve not proven that false, because you can’t. It is obviously and self-evidently true. So what do you do?

    Call me a liar. Restate irrelevant mantra. Mock, triumphantly.

    Honestly, when you say “transphobe”, I read “heretic”.

    you hold that trans women aren’t really as womanly as cis women, and should therefore be treated as not women.

    No, I hold that males can currently be excluded from female services (including statistics and medical care) in the UK.

  65. zoilean says

    Ok, I know I said I was bowing out, but the stupid is so bad it hurts.
    (Please note, I’m calling the arguments here stupid, not you. I won’t be baited into insulting people however much you descend to absuive name-calling)

    John Morales says that to say that (not all) trans women are women is denying the reality of trans genderism.
    Does he have any idea how offensive that is to trans people like me?

    I was born male, I’m still male, that will never change. My gender identity is different (non-binary), so I’m trans.
    Sex and gender are different – that’s why trans people exist. No one says they don’t.

    The word man (according to the dictionary and the way most people use it) means a male human being. So I’m a man.
    But I’m also non-binary. So when I say I’m trans non-binary that tells you about my gender identity. But I’m also a man because I’m male.

    I think this explains it in ways anyone can understand:
    http://cutt.ly/twaw

    As for the comparison with black people being human – that’s so offensive as to be properly sick.
    The obvious point is that being human is defined by your species – race has nothing to do with it. So to suggest any one race is less human is of course racist.
    But whether you’re a man or a woman is of course linked to whether you’re male or female.
    So arguing that someone who is male might be less of a woman is not the same as arguing someone who is black is less human.

    Meanwhile I asked Silentbob earlier for a definition of the word woman. No reply.

    And of course we’re still waiting for his reply with even a single thing JKR has said that’s transphobic which is what this whole debate was supposed to be about.
    tick
    tick
    tick
    .
    .
    .

  66. John Morales says

    zoilean @70:

    John Morales says that to say that (not all) trans women are women is denying the reality of trans genderism.

    Your purported paraphrase is not semantically congruent to my statement.

    (I do like your parenthetical, given its implication, since ‘not all’ entails ‘at least some’)

    Does he have any idea how offensive that is to trans people like me?

    Trans people like you are as Herman Cain was to black people.

    And no, I have no idea of how offended you are, personally.
    Do feel free to elucidate, if you want me to have some idea.

    David @69:

    you hold that trans women aren’t really as womanly as cis women, and should therefore be treated as not women.

    No, I hold that males can currently be excluded from female services (including statistics and medical care) in the UK.

    OK, you answered “no”, so you do not hold that trans women aren’t really as womanly as cis women, and you do not hold that trans women should therefore be treated as not women.

    Do you further hold that there’s a gender binary?

    (Because if you do, it’s pretty obvious what follows from your denial)

  67. says

    John Morales:

    I hold that males can currently be excluded from female services (including statistics and medical care) in the UK.

    Can you read?

  68. John Morales says

    I quoted you, David, so it’s pretty evident that I can indeed read.

    (I can also tell when someone is dissembling)

  69. says

    I made a statement of fact. Your response was irrelevant to what I said.

    That’s how things are. Keeping things as they are does not remove rights from anybody.

    This isn’t difficult. I’m pointing out that the very first claim in that KM piece is false.

    Your value judgements and digressions are a distraction.

    So: is what I’ve said true, or false?

  70. John Morales says

    David,

    Your response was irrelevant to what I said.

    Well, I said you hold X and therefore Y, and you then quoted that and responded “no”.

    I’m pointing out that the very first claim in that KM piece is false.

    I’m pointing out that that you denied that “you hold that trans women aren’t really as womanly as cis women”, which necessarily means that you do in fact hold that they’re at least as womanly. And that when I did that, you instantly tried to evade that claim, without actually repudiating it.

    (You do know you can resile from your reflexive denial, no? Honesty is the best policy, and all that)

  71. says

    Please explain what the statement: “you hold that trans women aren’t really as womanly as cis women” has to do with the sex-based exemptions in the UK Equality Act 2010.

    KM contends that Forstater campaigned to remove rights. I have stated that campaigning to preserve existing law removes nothing from anybody.

    I have further stated that existing law states that males can currently be excluded from female services (including statistics and medical care) in the UK.

    You have neither accepted nor rebutted any of this, instead wandered into areas you seemingly feel more comfortable arguing about, and which I am continuing to ignore because – as I say – it is irrelevant.

    So again: the first item in the KM piece which purports to show why JK Rowling is “transphobic” is false.

    Any comment?

  72. John Morales says

    David:

    Really racist.

    Now, now. He might have been leading Black Voices for Trump, he might have pushed the Tea Party, he might have criticised BLM, but basically he was but a quisling.

  73. John Morales says

    David,

    Please explain what the statement: “you hold that trans women aren’t really as womanly as cis women” has to do with the sex-based exemptions in the UK Equality Act 2010.

    Nothing at all, other than that your claim clearly evinced that sentiment, and I noted that.

    Which you then denied, upon which I noted the implication of your denial, upon which you tried to dissemble without actually resiling.

    It would be easy enough for you to be honest, but no, you still dissemble lest your true attitude is made manifest.

    You have neither accepted nor rebutted any of this, instead wandered into areas you seemingly feel more comfortable arguing about, and which I am continuing to ignore because – as I say – it is irrelevant.

    Huh. You didn’t ignore it when you wrote “no” after quoting my claim.

    So again: the first item in the KM piece which purports to show why JK Rowling is “transphobic” is false.

    Any comment?

    I don’t even know who KM is.

    But I do know your stance, I’ve encountered it plenty of times before. And I know its provenance. As I noted.

  74. says

    dissemble

    Projection, thy name is John Morales

    I don’t even know who KM is.

    Katie Montgomerie, which would be clear if you’re read the comments I made upthread.

    So yet again: the first item in the KM piece which purports to show why JK Rowling is “transphobic” is false.
    Any comment?

  75. blf says

    @80, I far as I can make out (based on previous comments in this thread), “KM” is “Katie Montgomerie”. I have no idea who that is. There is, however, a Katy Montgomerie, who has written articles like Why What JK Rowling Said is Transphobic, which is much clearer than most of the drivel and obfuscation in this thread.

  76. says

    @82 which is linked in this thread, and is whatI’m responding to.

    This is all very circular.

    The first point KM makes is false, for the reasons stated upthread, at length.

    Are you going to engage, or just wave vaguely in the direction of the thing I’m saying is false, and hoping I’ll see the light?

  77. blf says

    @83, The link in @82 is to an article by Katy Montgomerie. You keep referring to a Katie Montgomerie, even after the suggested correction of @82. Who is this Katie person?

    Katy is also linked-to in Silentbob@43, Addressing The Claims In JK Rowling’s Justification For Transphobia, which is not the same article linked-to in @82. Only after that link is the first unambiguous mention of this mysterious Katie (in @53); however, I can find no links to anything by any such person… anywhere. This “KM” (Katie) does not seem to exist nor have they written anything.

    Be clear who you mean and what the link is.

    Incidentally, Katy’s article linked-to in @82 is very short and to the point. (The one linked-to in @43 is rather long.)

  78. John Morales says

    David:

    The first point KM makes is false, for the reasons stated upthread, at length.

    Thanks to blf, I have some context.
    So, the actual first point KM makes is “Sex is real.”, but clearly that’s not to what you refer. So, with a bit of cross-checking, I surmise that you refer to this:

    [1] This all revolves around the desire to label trans women as men in order to justify taking away the rights they have today. [2] Trans women have used women’s spaces in the UK — the country JK Rowling and I live in — longer than either of us have been alive, and they have been legally protected to do so for over a decade (before that there were no laws either way. It has never been illegal). [3] Some people have only just learned what a trans person is since the rise of trans visibility in the media, and they just don’t like it.

    Technically, that’s at least three basic claims (which I’ve enumerated).

    So, which are false, in your estimation?

    Projection, thy name is John Morales

    <snicker>

    @71:

    David @69:

    you hold that trans women aren’t really as womanly as cis women, and should therefore be treated as not women.

    No, […]

    OK

    So, you quoted my claim, and then denied that claim. As I noted.

  79. says

    You keep referring to a Katie Montgomerie, even after the suggested correction of @82

    No, the last time was in 81.

    I sincerely apologise to anyone who may have been sorely offended or confused by my repeated reference to Katy Montgomerie, as Katie Montgomerie. As you can see, the names are completely different, and there is no conceivable way I could have innocently forgotten the exact spelling since the last time I saw it written down. Because Katy is never spelled Katie, and Montgomerie is never spelled Montgomery, and any inadvertent mix up of the two completely dissimilar endings must surely be an act of purest hate, or a deliberate tactic to obfuscate and confuse.

    And I see now you actually linked to Katy’s earlier, shorter piece, which after some preamble settles down into the first substantial claim, which is:

    This all revolves around the desire to label trans women as men in order to justify taking away the rights they have today.

    In fact, the whole article essentially boils down to this. That Rowling’s comments are all about wanting to take away rights.

    But that is the very claim I am rebutting – so if my claim that preserving existing rights as-is does not take away rights, then this whole article falls apart, just like the first claim in the longer piece.

    So, please: how does campaigning to preserve existing rights, take away rights?

    It is a very simple question, I have asked it several times, and been met with accusations and digressions.

  80. says

    Thanks to blf, I have some context.

    I thought you said you could read? All of this is upthread.

    the actual first point KM makes is “Sex is real.”

    In the earlier, shorter piece (not the one I was originally responding to). But saying “sex is real” is not important to an accusation of transphobia. Katy is agreeing with Rowling. So it is irrelevant, even in this other piece.

    Technically, that’s at least three basic claims

    The first of which is, as I said, about taking away rights.

    And I’ve gone over this at length in this thread.

    Again, I thought you could read?

    So, you quoted my claim, and then denied that claim. As I noted.

    And since you’re continuing to digress about the meaning of the word “no”, my “no” was not to the content of your statement, it was to your assertion that anything I “held” was in any way represented by what you said. The statement you made was a non sequitur. You say “you hold”, I say “no” to that. Everything after the words “you hold” in your original question was deviation from what I actually said, and thus I continue to ignore it, and reiterate my original statement.

    You may as well have said “you hold that mars is made of lemons”, to which I would also say, no, I hold that males can currently be excluded from female services (including statistics and medical care) in the UK.

  81. John Morales says

    Fine David, you’re not gonna be pinned-down, but still, let’s see if I get you: whether or not you hold that trans women are less womanly than cis women is an utter irrelevance to you, and thus you will conspicuously ignore that.
    And you think it’s false that “This all revolves around the desire to label trans women as men in order to justify taking away the rights they have today.”
    And, even were that true, that sentiment would not be transphobic, in your estimation, and thus JKR can’t be transphobic.

    And there’s nothing transphobic about, for example, advocating that trans women shouldn’t be able to use women’s toilets, right?

    Have I got your drift?

  82. says

    Have I got your drift?

    Clearly not.

    I have said, very clearly:

    I hold that males can currently be excluded from female services (including statistics and medical care) in the UK.

    And:

    how does campaigning to preserve existing rights, take away rights?

    You’re talking about sentiment and transphobia and “womanly”.

    I am making a statement of verifiable fact re: UK law, and asserting it is false to say that preservation of existing rights is taking away rights.

    This is the whole crux of KM’s first assertion in both pieces – that Forstater and by extension Rowling are “transphobic” because they want to take away rights. If I demonstrate that they aren’t trying to take away rights, then this claim cannot be evidence of transphobia, can it?

    And so far the only evidence offered in this thread to rebut this, has in fact confirmed it, ie that Forstater campaigned for preserving the existing framework, and since the UK government did indeed drop the GRA reform a couple of weeks ago, nobody has lost any rights.

    Are you with me yet?

  83. John Morales says

    David,

    Are you with me yet?

    Sure. In a thread about a petition to support JKR because she’s been deemed transphobic and some of the pushback has been vile, you’re asserting it is false to say that preservation of existing rights is taking away rights. Presumably, you think it follows from that that JKR can’t be transphobic.

    I am making a statement of verifiable fact re: UK law, and asserting it is false to say that preservation of existing rights is taking away rights.

    Really? I mean, (extending the earlier analogy) the Jim Crow laws mandated segregation, and so their preservation would not have entailed taking away rights from Black people by that criterion.

    (I grant it’s technically true that one can’t lose what one doesn’t have, but the implicit corollary is that they shouldn’t have it in the first place)

    You’re talking about sentiment and transphobia and “womanly”.

    That’s what JKR is on about, specifically. The sentiment is that there are sacred women’s only spaces, and trans women don’t belong there because they’re actually men.

  84. zoilean says

    #71
    So the pattern continues. Clear arguments and requests for evidence are met with yet more abuse.

    I’m afraid as a Brit I’ve no idea who Herman Cain is either but having racist insults hurled at me seems to be the inevitable conclusion of this discussion.

    You trans activists are just so predictable:
    “We need to listen to trans people.”
    Trans person speaks.
    “No – not those trans people…. Just the ones who agree with us”.

    I actually do enjoy hearing arguments from the other side and honestly thought that a Free Thought Blog would be the place for a reasoned discussion. Seems I’m wrong.

    DH – I think you’re right about “trans women are women” being a religious edict. Like the 14th century arguments over the reality of transubstantiation – its primary purpose is to identify heretics.
    No one is actually interested in discussing whether it’s true or not – it’s just a mantra you have to sign up to to prove you’re a believer. If you refuse, you get (metaphorically) burned at the stake.

    Meanwhile still not a single quote from JKR that’s transphobic (though yes, she did buy something from a shop once).
    Just endless recycling of the KM blog.

    Come on, if you’re going to link to an analysis of JKR’s writing then this is the one you want to link to. Much more rigorous:
    https://medium.com/@KatyMontgomerie/why-what-jk-rowling-said-is-transphobic-42081477afa1

    Clearly if I want reasoned debate I should go elsewhere, so C’ya!

  85. says

    Again, dissembling.

    You don’t need an analogy. I’ve made a statement of fact and a logical assertion. All of this is either true, or false.

    I grant it’s technically true that one can’t lose what one doesn’t have

    There you go.

    So KM’s first claim – that Forstater, and by extension Rowling, are transphobic because they want to take away rights, is false, on the grounds that they don’t want to take away rights.

    Is this a fair assessment?

    The sentiment is that there are sacred women’s only spaces

    The sentiment is that males can currently be excluded from female services (including statistics and medical care) in the UK.

  86. John Morales says

    zoilean:

    You trans activists are just so predictable

    I’m not a trans activist. I’m a kibitzer.

    Clearly if I want reasoned debate I should go elsewhere, so C’ya!

    Bye.

  87. John Morales says

    David:

    So KM’s first claim – that Forstater, and by extension Rowling, are transphobic because they want to take away rights, is false, on the grounds that they don’t want to take away rights.

    In the same way that the claim that a supporter of slavery, back in the day, was not racist because they wanted to uphold the law that Black people merited slavery, sure.

    The sentiment is that there are sacred women’s only spaces

    The sentiment is that males can currently be excluded from female services (including statistics and medical care) in the UK.

    So you (again) neither deny nor confirm what JKR has clearly expressed.

    Fine. Care to elaborate on what you consider to be “female services”? Might they include, say, women’s toilets? Women’s prisons? Women’s only spaces? ;)

    (One of us is being coy)

  88. John Morales says

    Still, I know it makes you uncomfortable for me to persevere with Silentbob’s analogy, so henceforth I’ll change it to something like women’s suffrage.

    So: In the same way that the claim that an opponent of women’s suffrage, back in the day, was not sexist because they wanted to uphold the law that women didn’t merit the right to vote. That was not taking away any right, either. :)

  89. John Morales says

    Or maybe homophobia? I mean, by your reasoning, there was nothing homophobic about resisting changes to marriage laws, right? No rights were being taken away there, either.

  90. says

    The problem is that with your slip into analogy, you’ve started making a different argument, to whit: that the denial of additional rights is transphobic.

    That might very well be. I don’t dispute at all that the denial of additional rights could be transphobic. It would depend on the rights in question and the rationale for the denial, and the balance of any existing rights.

    But that is a different issue, and not the one KM raises. You cannot use something as evidence of bigotry, if they are not in fact doing the thing you are accusing them of.

    Someone cannot be racist for advocating the return of slavery, if they are not advocating the return of slavery.

    You may ask yourself “that being the case, why does KM not make the alternative argument?”

    This is a good question. KM has had many, many opportunities to do so but continues to frame this as a removal of rights, rather than a denial of additional rights. Any suggestion as to why KM does this would be mere speculation.

    But just on this one point, can we at least agree that someone would be wrong to say:
    – Rowling is transphobic for supporting Forstater in December, because Forstater campaigned to remove rights from trans people.

  91. call me mark says

    “she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”.

    David, unless you believe that trans people do not have a right to dignity, or a right to not live or work in an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment, then it seem very much the case that Forstater was campaigning to remove those rights.

  92. says

    @98

    That’s quite the reach. So we have:

    Forstater makes public statements about retaining existing legislation (not campaigning to remove rights)
    Forstater loses her job after making some of these statements, but the exact basis has not been established
    Forstater raises a discrimination claim on the basis of belief that sex is immutable and politically important (not campaigning to remove rights)
    Forstater says in the tribunal that she would use preferred pronouns, but could not be made to believe a male person was literally female (not campaigning to remove rights, and in line with current UK equality law)
    Evidence is offered of Forstater accidentally calling an abusive, bearded misogynist “he” instead of “they”, one time (not campaigning to remove rights)
    The judge interprets that as an intent to say whatever she likes about anyone, no matter what harm it causes, ties that hypothetical action as an inevitable consequence of belief and rules the belief itself unprotected (a huge overreach, and one reason I hope this will be overturned on appeal)

    And you leap from this that she’s campaigned to remove rights? It is nonsense, and misunderstands both the representations she made, what she sought to have protected, and the effect of the ruling.

    The best you could say is that the judge’s intepretation of her belief might highlight a conflict of rights between the protected characteristics of belief and gender reassignment – but that would not be taking anything away (if it were true) it would merely be illustrating a conflict that was already in existence.

    But as I said upthread, none of this is true – Forstater’s belief could be protected, but she could still be sacked for “creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”, and she did not campaign for the right to do so. Protecting the belief has zero impact on this, so even by your overreaching interpretation, it would affect nobody’s rights.

  93. says

    I’ll have to come back later and review this thread — I’ve got a class to teach. David Hewitt: you’re on notice. It always makes me suspicious when a thread suddenly bloats up with heated argument, with one guy at the center who has never posted here before but is suddenly making 20 comments a day. It also makes me doubly suspicious when his comments are so confusing and tangled that I am going to have to put it off until I’ve got a free hour to figure out what the hell you’re talking about. And it makes me triply suspicious when it’s a thread about transgender issues, because TERFs have a reputation for barging in and making evasive asses of themselves.

    So just shut up for a while. Anything further you say is likely to increase your likelihood of being thrown out permanently.

  94. says

    Hey, I asked for evidence of her campaigning to remove rights.

    You gave me a hyperbolic interpretation of a worst-case interpretation of her saying she can’t be compelled to believe things she doesn’t, 8 months after she lost her job.

    I mean, it isn’t much of a campaign is it?

  95. says

    Hey, its your blog. I’m just trying to make my way through “evidence”, and we never got past the first point, because it took dozens of comments (and some casual racism) before anyone would even half admit that “not doing something” is not the same as “doing something”.

    But I’ll ditch it there. It’s been illuminating.

  96. zoilean says

    Ok – I know I said I wasn’t posting any more (and I’m not going continue the debate on JKR which I think we all agree has run its course).

    But I do want to comment on PZM’s comment #101
    It’s absolutely extraordinary that someone could look at this thread where David Hewitt is pretty much the only one who has actually engaged in substantive discussion – responding to the other side with evidence and reason – and conclude that he’s the one who should be banned.
    (I don’t know who he is and have had no interactions with him before anyone claims otherwise)

    Plenty of others have engage in abuse, insults and foul language – that’s fine.
    Lots of the others are nonsensical word salad that despite my very best efforts I can’t decipher.
    But posting lots of long, detailed and carefully argued responses is “suspicious”.
    The biggest fear apparently being that he’s a TERF – ie someone with a different point of view.

    That response alone tells you all you need to know about where we’ve come to.
    Honestly, I despair.

  97. aspleen says

    David Hewitt, I’ve appreciated your posts here and don’t think there’s anything suspicious about you at all.

  98. says

    Well that makes it easy. David Hewitt, zoilean (two people who have only appeared in this thread in the history of the blog), and aspleen: BUH-BYE. Banned.

    As for the claim that Hewitt has engaged in “substantive discussion”…no, he has not. That was my initial problem. From the very beginning he was trying to spin and redefine what TERFs say and mean, making it sound like they were simply trying to advance positive liberties rather than take them away, which is obviously not true. It’s all about controlling where trans people can go, where they can speak, what they can say, where they can go to the bathroom, while constantly belittling them. It was aggravatingly dishonest to claim he was “substantive”.

    Then I realized…oh, he was polite. You’re a batch of those people who confuse tone with substance. Fuck those people. Bye!

  99. says

    I wasn’t paying attention to this thread at all, because I honestly don’t care any more about JK Rowling than I do about any other human I don’t know, but I saw that PZ commented & wondered what was up & what he said.

    So, i searched for “Hewe” to start from the top looking at David Hewitt’s contributions, and lordy, lordy.

    Simply disagreeing is transphobia. It is quite incredible to watch. …

    Having been through the “evidence” so many times in so many different ways, that’s really all there is to it – you aren’t allowed to think differently. You aren’t allowed to even believe that sex is immutable materially important.

    This is so LOLSOB, it is hard to express, save by analogy:

    Reasonable Person: Black lives matter.
    Shroedinger’s Maybe Racist or Maybe Not: What are you on about?
    RP: I’m expressing my support for ending disproportionate policing of communities of color generally and specifically the disproportionate police violence against Black persons.
    SMRMN: Bollocks.
    RP: Wait, do you agree or disagree that Black persons should have the same rights as white persons and should be treated equally by their government?
    SMRMN: I disagree.
    RP: Whoah. That’s pretty racist there, friend.
    SMRMN: What? I’m not allowed to disagree with you?
    RP: Hey, this isn’t about what I believe or whether or not I agree with you. If I agreed with you that wouldn’t make you less racist.
    SMRMN: You can’t call me racist merely because we disagree on something!
    RP: Again, it’s not about whether or not you & I disagree. It’s about the content of your statement. The statement that Black people don’t deserve identical rights and equal treatment is a racist statement wheth-
    SMRMN: SEE! You’re calling me racist again, just because I disagree.
    RP: It’s not about agreement or disagreement. It’s what one can reasonably infer from the positions you take when
    SMRMN: DISSENT HAS BECOME CRIMINALIZED! IT’S 1984! IT’S NAZI GERMANY! I NO LONGER HAVE THE RIGHT TO DISAGREE WITH THE POWERS THAT BE, WHICH ARE OBVIOUSLY TRANS PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY HAVE ALL THE POLITICAL POWER!
    RP: Please. We are only listening to what you say and making reasonable judgements based on the evidence of your positions on relevant questions.
    SMRMN: TYRANNY! WHERE’S MY FREEZE PEACH?

    Yes, all those white people who say they’re merely politely disagreeing that racism harms Black people are racist as fuck, and no, they didn’t lose any rights. They never had a “right” to control whether or not other people think they’re racist as fuck.

    And, yes, people who politely disagree that trans people should be able to safely pee in public in the least harassing environment are cissexist as fuck. No they didn’t lose any rights. They never had a “right” to control whether or not other people think they’re cissexist as fuck.

    aaaannnnnnndd… end scene.

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