Green criticism of JK Rowling 'shutting down women's voices', claim Tories

The Scottish Green co-leaders have been accused of “trying to shut down women’s voices” by the Scottish Conservatives after a fresh row around gender recognition reform.

The accusation comes after Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie told The Scotsman they believed Harry Potter author JK Rowling was “not helping” the debate around transgender rights and held views “against trans people's equality and human rights”.

Ms Slater also said high-profile critics whom she accused of misrepresenting the Government’s reforms were putting “trans lives at risk and also other LGBTQ people at risk”.

Read More
JK Rowling 'not helping' trans debate, say Greens
Party leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater during a photocall beside the Wallace Monument at the Stirling Court Hotel ahead of the Scottish Green Party conference.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It comes after the Harry Potter author, 56, took to Twitter to attack Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government’s plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, which are expected to pass easily at the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Rowling, who declined to respond to the criticism from the Scottish Greens, had previously attacked Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for his views on transgender people.

He had said a “woman is a female adult, and in addition to that trans women are women, and that is not just my view, that is actually the law”.

The author said: “Among the thousands of letters and emails I’ve received are disillusioned members of Labour, the Greens, the Lib Dems and the SNP. Women are scared, outraged and angry at the deaf ear turned to their well-founded concerns.

"But women are organising. Now Keir Starmer publicly misrepresents equalities law, in yet another indication that the Labour Party can no longer be counted on to defend women’s rights.”

Meghan Gallacher, the Scottish Conservative spokesperson on gender recognition reform, accused the Scottish Greens of making the debate “more toxic and divisive than it should be”.

She said: “Trying to shut down women’s voices in this way is unacceptable.

“These over-the-top accusations from SNP-Green Government ministers are making this debate more toxic and divisive than it should be.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“JK Rowling and the thousands of other women with serious and reasonable concerns about this Bill should be treated with respect.

“There is a groundswell of opinion that we should seek to improve the system for trans people but not at the expense of women’s rights.

“I suggest these government ministers apologise to JK Rowling and instead of trying to silence her, they listen to her.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens said: “The Gender Recognition Reform Bill outlines simple proposals that will help trans people do things like marry, pay their taxes or get their pension in ways that recognise who they are.

"This will help Scotland finally catch up with the many other countries in Europe and around the world who have already taken these steps to protect trans people's basic human rights."

Want to hear more from The Scotsman's politics team? Check out the latest episode of our political podcast, The Steamie.

It's available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.