JK Rowling, lesbians and The Cotton Ceiling

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JK Rowling’s descent into transphobic propaganda continues, fixating on the genitals of people she’ll likely never meet on the behalf of “lesbians”.

By “lesbians” in that subtitle we mean; “specifically a few women who are transphobic but are attempting to use their sexuality as a shield for criticism of that fact.”

JK Rowling and the transphobic hate campaign she has become an idol for featured heavily in this weekend’s new cycle. First with a BBC article that retracted a statement suggesting that JK Rowling’s beliefs were unpopular, citing the lack of evidence to support the claim as the reason why.

I don’t personally believe her opinions are popular. Anti-trans activism and the propagandists trying to make it happen have been shown time and time again to be a very dedicated but also very small minority. They are only as successful as they are at garnering attention due to a complicit media class cashing in on the moment and our criminally corrupt Government using trans people to distract from their abuse of the UK.

But I also don’t know if I would describe them as unpopular either; transphobia is at least popular enough for its impacts to have been felt by the trans community. Repeatedly. Often violently. Whereas a lot of transphobes are taking this moment to celebrate the BBCs commitment to both-sidesing the issue of trans people’s human rights, I think my comment for the BBC is; hire trans writers.

Second and third we saw JK Rowling cited in two articles – one suggesting she was wrong via Stella Creasy’s interview. Another suggesting she’s a “heroine” via Suella Braverman MP’s appalling read of UK law.

Elsewhere, on Twitter of course, JK Rowling was spending her weekend posting about lesbians. This comes as Allison Bailey’s tribunal reaches the end of hearing evidence which has caused a resurrection of discourse regarding “the cotton ceiling” – an umbrella term for the fact that prejudices can impact who we pursue for relationships.

The term was coined by a transgender sex worker and is mostly associated with trans people because of that. Transphobes deliberately worked to mischaracterise the concept as a way of demonising transgender people even further than they already do. The claims being made essentially assert that transgender people are attempting to commit sex crimes against lesbians by the mere act of talking about transphobia on the dating scene.

Despite being coined by a trans person, the term itself does not solely refer to trans people at all. Attempts to characterise “the cotton ceiling” as targeting of lesbians fall down right from the get go as the term refers to all prejudices and discrimination and how they affect our sex lives. This includes concepts like sexual racism, a term which transphobes harassed and abused Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall, for allegedly using in a letter.

Transphobic myth has built on transphobic myth to the point where none of them can recognise the truth regardless of how many times you try to show it them. That’s why a respected criminal barrister (Allison Bailey) thought it was a smart idea to accuse an individual trans woman of making an event with the “sole purpose of coaching heterosexual men on how to coerce young lesbians into sex”. With absolutely no evidence to substantiate that claim whatsoever.

The problem is that JK Rowling showed her entire ass by going head first into transphobia and now there’s no real way out of that without taking responsibility and apologising. Something which her ego will obviously prevent her from doing. She’s crossed the event horizon and the only direction she can now move in is further and further into transphobic disinformation in an ill-fated attempt to justify the horrific things she believes.

Rowling has been told that the things she believes aren’t true and trans people aren’t trying to have sex with people who very clearly hate us. One trans woman even attempted this on Twitter to which a transphobe responded with a video that – according to JK Rowling – proves that trans people are indeed targeting lesbians and trying to undermine their sexuality!

Responding with “You’ve just said no trans person is saying this and were immediately shown evidence to the contrary.” The “evidence” JK Rowling is talking about is a TikTok video. The video is a song by another trans person which talks about prejudice and discrimination on the dating scene. It by no means supports the allegations of Rowling or those she supports on this issue.

That’s the whole problem though isn’t it? We are looking at the same things but seeing two very different things. The cotton ceiling and discussions on prejudice and discrimination on the dating scene aren’t new for marginalised communities. As mentioned before, concepts like sexual racism have existed long before the current transphobic moral panic.

Transphobes on the other hand are looking to find reasons to support their transphobia. They start from the position of “trans women are men” and work their way up from there. If trans women are men you can’t be a transgender woman who is also a lesbian, you’re a “heterosexual male”. If “heterosexual males” are trying to talk about facing discrimination on the dating scene when trying to date lesbians that must be bad, because lesbians don’t have sex with men!

This logic and rhetoric endlessly reasserts itself irrespective of the number of cisgender lesbians who speak up in support of transgender women. Including the various “With The T” campaigns or the fact that both CEOs of Stonewall since its inclusion of trans people have been cisgender lesbians.

If they believe it hard enough, perhaps they can will it into existence but I doubt it. Trans people just don’t want to have sex with rancid nasty bigots. We want to have sex with people who love us and respect us, like anyone else.

Gemma Stone
Gemma Stone is a transgender writer who has been covering the rise of transphobic hate campaigning in the UK. She has written hundreds of articles dissecting aspects of transphobia including debunking blatant disinformation. She is very tired and trying her best, and hopefully having a positive impact on such a beautiful community.

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