A JK Rowling selfie has become a news item after the Harry Potter author posted one to social media. In which, she is seen wearing a t-shirt targeting Nicola Sturgeon by calling her the “destroyer of women’s rights”.
The Scottish government are moving forwards with their GRA reforms, proposals for which look quite promising. Reforms look to improve the GRA by making it more accessible to those who need it and most crucially; demedicalising it. Groups opposing these proposals have protested and it is this which the JK Rowling selfie is in support of.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 6, 2022
The t-shirt was designed and produced by Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, a controversial anti-trans figure who even many other anti-trans figures have worked to distance themselves from. This due to her “at all costs” approach to transphobia which has led her to be interviewed by Canadian white nationalist Jean-François Gariépy and anti-feminist and Hearts of Oak co-founder Carl Benjamin in interviews.
In her own words she has said that she hopes should transgender women ever get pregnant that we are “fatally allergic” to the fetus. She has said that “women who call themselves men should be sterilised” in reference to transgender men. In a now deleted YouTube video she has even called for armed men to police women’s bathrooms in order to keep transgender women out.
not kellie-jay keen-minshull inviting men with guns into the women's bathroom to protect cis women from transgender women.
this is incitement of violence. pic.twitter.com/DF1OqOQaua
— a wailing banshe/her (@notCursedE) January 28, 2021
However Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull did not create this t-shirt in opposition to these proposals for GRA reform as they did not exist at the time. No, the t-shirt from the JK Rowling selfie is a response to a clip released by Nicola Sturgeon commenting on transphobia within the SNP.
In January 2021 people were leaving the SNP in large numbers due to the SNP’s inaction in dealing with transphobia in the party. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hurredly put out a video stating that transphobia is not acceptable and that the debate around GRA reform must not become a cover for it. “Transphobia is wrong and we must treat it with the zero tolerance we treat racism or homophobia”. The t-shirt was created soon after.
Critics of Scotland’s proposed GRA reform England’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, two commissioners for which are currently representing LGB Alliance in the legal claim against their charitable status. They call on Scotland to ‘work with” England on this reform, essentially claiming that Scotland’s plan to demedicalise the process would complicate things for England.
However Scotland has responded, in short, telling them to do one. With Stonewall Scotland citing the fact that their criticisms don’t really make sense as a lot of other countries, including Ireland, already have a demedicalised process for the changing of birth certificates. These certificates are already accepted and understood in England, there is no reason to believe it would be any different for Scotland.
I have my own criticisms of the GRA system as a whole and especially the way England’s system is attempting to implement it. With the GRA becoming the dividing line between who is entitled to protections and who is not. The burden to prove a duty of care has been met is being shifted away from the government and onto individual trans people to make sure we have our documents in line first. This is obviously not good and I oppose the whole system.
But while we still have a system of legal sex recognition it should be one that doesn’t discriminate or detriment transgender people in any way. If the English government want to maintain the medicalised process we have now then the government must provide access to diagnosis in a reasonable timeframe – under 6 months maximum. As of yet the government has failed to do this with wait times at clinics being officially 5 years and unofficially 20 years if backlogs are cleared at current rate.
Scotland, whose clinic wait times aren’t much better but at least their prescriptions are free, has realised dropping the medicalised requirement is not only a moral good but also literally the only way to implement a GRA under these conditions. They cannot guarantee access to diagnosis in a reasonable time frame so they should not be asking for it, simple as. Their reforms look promising, but do not go far enough in my opinion.
As for the JK Rowling selfie itself? I am simply reminding my self of her now infamous tweet attempting to sugarcoat her descent into anti-trans radicalisation. The quote “I would march with you if you were discriminated against for being transgender” makes a lot more sense when you realise she’s only marching in time with you to ensure the rifle barrel stays pressed uncomfortably into the small of your back.