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JK Rowling will ‘struggle to support’ Labour with Starmer’s stance on gender | Politics News

JK Rowling has said she will “struggle to support” Labour if Sir Keir Starmer keeps his current stance on gender recognition.

The Harry Potter author has authored a 2,000-word essay in The Times in which she outlines her dissatisfaction with the Labour Party‘s current position.

In the piece, she criticises Sir Keir, as well as shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, shadow equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy and shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry.

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Rowling has been outspoken in her belief that biological women should be able to have separate spaces, and trans women – who were born male – should not be allowed access.

She has been criticised for her position, being widely condemned in recent years for her views on transgender rights, for example claiming that she would rather go to jail than refer to a trans person by their preferred pronouns.

Transgender newsreader India Willoughby recently responded to comments by Rowling as “genuinely disgusted”.

She added: “Grotesque transphobia, which is upsetting. I am every bit as much a woman as JK Rowling.”

Daniel Radcliffe, who became a worldwide star after playing schoolboy wizard Harry in the blockbuster adaptations of the novels, has also criticised her views, and said in an interview last month that the fallout with Rowling “makes me really sad“.

JK Rowling and India Willoughby
Pic: Reuters/PA
Image:
JK Rowling and India Willoughby. Pic: Reuters/PA

JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe at the UK premiere of Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004.
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JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe at the UK premiere of Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004. Pic: PA

In the article, the author speaks about how she thought she “misheard” Sir Keir in 2021 when he criticised Labour candidate Rosie Duffield for saying only women have a cervix.

Sir Keir was asked about this statement in a recent leaders debate, at which point he said he agreed with Sir Tony Blair that women have vaginas and men have penises.

Rowling says she felt the Labour leader gave “the impression that until Tony Blair sat him down for a chat, he’d never understood how he and his wife had come to produce children”.

She added that she “really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt”.

In her article, Rowling claims to “have been a Labour voter, a member (no longer), donor (not recently) and campaigner (ditto) all my adult life” – and she wants to see the end of the Conservative government.

According to Electoral Commission records, she gave £1m to the party in 2008, and £8,000 in 2015.

Read more:
Troll who threatened to kill Rowling and Duffield avoids jail
Rowling accuses Starmer of ‘misrepresenting equalities law’
Starmer says 99.9% of women ‘haven’t got a penis’

In the article, the author highlighted Ms Dodds for saying what a woman is “depends on what the context is”.

Ms Cooper is criticised for saying she was “not going to get into rabbit holes on this”.

Rowling points to Ms Thornberry for saying: “some women will have penises. Frankly, I’m not looking up their skirts, I don’t care”.

And Mr Lammy draws ire for saying women like Rowling are “dinosaurs hoarding rights”.

David Lammy MP calls for immediate humanitarian ceasefire
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David Lammy is among those who Rowling criticised

The Harry Potter author also claims Mr Lammy said that a cervix is “something you can have following various procedures and hormone treatments”.

Rowling wrote: “It’s very hard not to suspect that some of these men don’t know what a cervix is, but consider it too unimportant to Google.”

The NHS definition of the cervix is the opening between the vagina and the womb.

Rowling says the debate for “left-leaning” women like herself “isn’t, and never has been, about trans people enjoying the rights of every other citizen, and being free to present and identify however they wish”.

Instead, she says it is “about the right of women and girls to assert their boundaries”.

She adds: “It’s about freedom of speech and observable truth.

“It’s about waiting, with dwindling hope, for the left to wake up to the fact that its lazy embrace of a quasi-religious ideology is having calamitous consequences.”

The author says she met a mother of a girl with learning difficulties who was “smeared as a bigot and a transphobe for wanting female-only intimate care” for her.

“I cannot vote for any politician who takes issue with that mother’s words,” Rowling adds.

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She concludes: “An independent candidate is standing in my constituency who’s campaigning to clarify the Equality Act.

“Perhaps that’s where my X will have to go on 4 July.

“As long as Labour remains dismissive and often offensive towards women fighting to retain the rights their foremothers thought were won for all time, I’ll struggle to support them.

“The women who wouldn’t wheesht didn’t leave Labour. Labour abandoned them.”

Earlier in the day, Sir Keir ruled out lifting the block on the Scottish government’s controversial gender reforms.

Sky News has approached the Labour Party for comment.

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