The transphobic hate-campaign is still mobilising on The Society of Authors and Joanne Harris in particular. This has culminated in the author feeling pressured to speak up in support of her trans son.
The Society of Authors, chaired by Joanne Harris, recently found its way onto the transphobic radar when they used the term “self-identified” in a tweet. The tweet was in reference to disabilities and merely meant that the Society of Authors would not be asking for proof of any disability or chronic illness for its prizes.
The transphobic mobbing of The Society of Authors has continued since, with Joanne Harris having made the papers in an attempt to manufacture a row between her and JK Rowling. Dealing with the situation in a far more dignified manner than I would have managed myself; Joanne Harris quite politely said she refuses to take part in that. Instead reiterating that her personal beliefs do not affect her ability to chair The Society of Authors and giving examples of such.
So today I made the Times. The article is paywalled, but from what I can see, it is felt that as Chair of the @Soc_of_Authors, I am not offering enough aid to gender-critical women who feel threatened for their beliefs. I can't believe I have to say this again, but here goes.
— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat) August 16, 2022
Ironically, the idea that one’s personal beliefs do not affect ones ability to do a job is a principle which transphobes went to court for. Maya Forstater, who JK Rowling infamously supported, won her case against CGD which argued that the mere act of having beliefs was not sufficient grounds for termination.
What transphobes failed to have grasped is that this is a two-way street, just as transphobic beliefs are not grounds for termination alone; neither are trans-inclusive beliefs. Though it’s doubtful they will stop calling for Joanne Harris to step down or be fired any time soon.
All of the abuse Joanne Harris has had to deal with so far is obviously horrific, but it isn’t bottom of the barrel horrific like what we’re about to talk about. That’s because transphobes have now, essentially, pressured Joanne Harris into outing her trans son to the public. In tweets she writes; “I ‘declared’ this at my son’s suggestion, because people on here were already whispering about him, trying to put pressure on me.”
A lot of people have been talking nonsense about this, thanks to Kathleen Stock. Let's get a couple of things clear. I "declared" this at my son's suggestion, because people on here were already whispering about him, trying to put pressure on me. pic.twitter.com/V0YFUPOIoX
— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat) August 16, 2022
The positive and wholesome aspect of this is sadly overshadowed by the sinister side. I commend Joanne Harris and her son taking control and regaining their power here. Absolutely a bad ass move and I’m thoroughly pleased Joanne is a proud parent to her trans child. But this isn’t the first time trans people have been put in the situation where really the only option is to volunteer our private information.
In 2020 Nikkie De Jager who runs NikkieTutorials, a make up artist YouTube giant with almost 14 million subscribers, was put in the same position. Her video titled “I’m coming out” explains that people had found out about her being transgender and were threatening to out her. To take back her power she outed herself first.
The UK has had its fair share of problems with regards to trans people’s privacy too. Indeed, both the reason that we needed to invent the Gender Recognition Act, 2004 and part of the basis for the case that mandated it into existence involve the outing of transgender people and our human rights to privacy.
The former being with regards to April Ashley whose outing to the papers eventually led to the breakdown of her marriage and the infamous Corbett vs Corbett which set precedent that trans people were legally bound to our birth certificates. The latter being the fact that Article 8 of the Human Rights Act which deals with the right to privacy is cited in judgment; with the GRA even having a provision that attempts to mitigate any accidental outings via data leakage.
Yet despite that anti-trans activists and those who defend them are demanding that relations to transgender people be “declared”. Like knowing one of us is an automatic conflict of interest you have a moral obligation to tell people about; that trans person’s privacy be damned!
One such defender is tory Lord, Ralph Lucas, who cited the ‘Nolan Principles’. A set of principles which apply to those who hold public office (ie not Joanne Harris) and which he has not once publicly referenced in relation to any of our dirty rotten tory politicians, such as our lying criminal prime-minister; Boris Johnson.
— Ralph Lucas (@LordLucasCD) August 16, 2022
Don’t even get me started on how disgusting and dehumanising it is to use language such as “trans-identified offspring” in relation to Joanne Harris’ son.
Trans identified is a common slur against trans people and functions rather like phrases such as “same-sex attracted”. The point of which is to reframe who someone is as just something they do; they say they are trans, they say they are attracted to people of the same sex. The point of which is to position being trans and being gay as something that is fixable, hence why “same-sex attracted” has its roots in conversion therapy practices.
All my love and solidarity go out to Joanne Harris and her son. I can’t imagine this has been anything but an awful and stressful time which sadly I don’t see letting up soon. In the mean time a bunch of fellow writers have began an open letter of support for Joanne which I have signed and if you’re a writer you probably can too by checking out the link.