The author who has claimed to be standing up for women’s rights by being transphobic on the internet was notably silent on the loss of reproductive rights in the US. Until she decided to tweet at a trans woman pointing out said silence from so-called “gender critical feminists”.
I don’t like writing about JK Rowling – or indeed any celebrity – and their opinions on trans people. Good or bad, I just do not care. We deserve human rights and equality irrespective of your view of us. But also I am high-key aware that popping her name in the title can double my usual viewership and honestly that’s just wasted energy unless its used for something good, like informing people about things!
So here we go, another JK Rowling article; Roe Vs Wade is the name of a US Supreme Court case which set a precedent that protects the right to have an abortion and supposedly “without excessive government restriction”. Its been a huge part of opposing any legislation brought by US governments to ban or control abortions. As such it has faced many challenges because if you get rid of Roe Vs Wade, anti-abortion legislation becomes easier to implement.
The latest challenge comes as a result of the Supreme Court considering a case which challenges Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks. An alleged draft opinion from one of the judges set to rule on the case has been leaked. It contains the comment that the Roe vs Wade judgement is “egregiously wrong”. If Roe Vs Wade is stuck down the decision to allow abortions moves to the state level with many states already supporting a ban.
There have already been attempts from transphobes to blame this on trans people. We have seen comments wherein people take aim at gender neutral language, such as “people who can get pregnant”. The argument being that not using the word “woman” has made things more difficult, confusing and harder to argue. However I haven’t used the word “woman” in this piece even once, and don’t plan to. It’s not only women who require access to abortions and abortions should be accessible for all those who need them.
Then we get to trans people having noticed the deafening silence from the anti-trans crowd on Twitter about all of this. Multiple well-known and so-called “gender critical feminists” have just been completely silent on the subject. To which Katy Montgomerie, an activist, content creator and transgender woman quipped; “I really think that every single journalist who interviews a ‘Gender Critical’ person should ask them if they support abortion and gay marriage”.
JK Rowling took a screenshot of this tweet and responded; “Well, in my case the answer would be yes and yes. I’ve alwasy supported gay marriage & I support women’s right to safe, legal abortion should they with to terminate a pregnancy. I suspect most GC people would answer the same way, but by all means let journalists ask the question”.
Which is just not true. The bit about most transphobes supporting abortion rights and marriage equality specifically. A fact which becomes readily apparent if you take even five minutes to look around the room and see the kinds of people who JK Rowling is buddying up with. Such as Caroline Farrow, a career campaigner for her religious views and by which I mean she appeared on BBC’s question time to oppose marriage equality and is part of Citizen Go a far-right group who campaign for abortion bans. JK Rowling sent her “big love” recently.
There’s also JKR’s Lumos co-founder, Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne who was protested by lesbians for opposing the inclusion of sexual orientation on the UN Year of Tolerance declaration. She also opposed gay marriage, which she reiterated and attempted to justify as recently as a year or so ago. Her stance on abortion isn’t particularly better either. Statements in 1990 show her supporting abortion for medical reasons, which includes ableist eugenics and describing disabled people as “living wretched existences”, but opposing abortion for what she describes to be “social reasons”.
I don’t know what she means by social reasons, but I don’t give a hoot what reason someone has for having an abortion. It’s none of my business, I just want them to be able to get one safely and in a timely manner, literally nothing else matters in my view.
It doesn’t stop there either, with multiple anti-trans activists from both the UK and the US buddying up to far-right religious groups such as The Heritage Foundation and appearing on shows alongside Tucker Carlson. Lawyers for the Keira Bell case were also known anti-abortion lawyers, a case which thankfully has hit a dead end after being overturned.
Katy Montgomerie went on to explain the point she tried to make, which was completely ignored by transphobes. The point being that if “gender citical feminism” were truly a women’s movement, you’d expect them all to stand behind what they refer to as a women’s issue and women’s rights. But they just don’t, the thread that connects them isn’t women’s rights its transphobia; that’s the only thing that connects them.
Which makes a lot of sense when you think about the forces that want to ban abortion and control people’s bodies like that. Often referred to as gender; social norms that we create and enforce are there to dictate what kind of person you should be and what your role in life is based on what body parts you have. This is the exact same thing trans people have to deal with because the underlying issue here is the invasion of bodily autonomy, gender roles are just how they try to justify it.
Its crap gender nonsense to say that someone with a uterus is a woman and must be designated as a child-bearer just as much as its crap gender nonsense to say that someone without a uterus is a man and shouldn’t be allowed to transition or be accepted as a woman. It’s all crap gender nonsense that they use to control the bodies and lives of other people in order to deny us our autonomy.
Katy Montgomerie is right; ‘gender critical feminism’ isn’t a women’s movement. It’s just patriarchy. That’s why while Rowling’s fan clubs are having sandwiches and bemoaning trans people, trans people are instead out there alongside cis people fighting for bodily autonomy for everyone.