JK Rowling wears T-shirt calling Nicola Sturgeon 'destroyer of women’s rights’ as Edinburgh protests break out
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The author of the Harry Potter books shared the picture as campaigners gathered in front of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday to protest controversial legislation that aims to make it easier for transgender people to be legally recognised as their identified gender.
Rowling, who lives in Edinburgh, said she has been outspoken about transgender issues and their impact on women’s rights because of her experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault. It has sparked claims from critics that the writer is transphobic, an allegation which she strongly denies.
Sharing the photo, the author wrote on Twitter: “I stand in solidarity with @ForWomenScot and all women protesting and speaking outside the Scottish parliament. #NoToSelfID.”
However, some Twitter users disagreed with her comments. One replied: “I bet on my life that neither JKR nor a single one of her followers can tell me what the GRA does today and what the reforms are. Not one.”
While another added: “Self ID does not govern access to spaces. There is no academic evidence suggesting that self ID impact[s] the rights of other people.”
A majority of MSPs on the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee have recommended the general principles of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill should be approved.
Committee convener Joe FitzPatrick said: “We believe these important reforms will improve the lives and experiences of trans people.”
But organisers of the rally For Women Scotland said the bill was “chipping away at women’s rights by stealth”.
Susan Smith of the group told the Edinburgh Evening News: “Our focus here is on women and girls. You can’t tread on the rights of others because of your own personal feelings about your identity.
"The Scottish Government are pursuing contradictory arguments here, saying on one hand it won’t make that much difference and on the other, it will drastically improve the lives of trans people.
"Any major application process whether it’s citizenship or benefit payments can be hugely invasive. What’s being asked for here is special privileges for some that massively impacts on the hard-won, civil rights of another group.
"It feels like our hold on those rights is tenuous. For a long time in living memory women have been treated poorly.
"Today, we still face a huge gender pay gap and other battles specific to being a woman. The Government is chipping away at our rights by stealth.”
What reforms are being proposed to the Gender Recognition Act in Scotland?
The Scottish Government is proposing to “simplify” the process for trans people to get a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which allows people to be legally recognised in their acquired gender and given a new birth certificate.
Among the changes, the minimum age of applicants will be lowered from 18 to 16, and applicants will no longer be required to submit a medical diagnosis to a tribunal.
Instead, they will need to make a statutory declaration they have lived in the acquired gender for at least three months, and plan to live in their gender permanently.