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31 Dec, 2021 04:48

J.K. Rowling denies ever saying ‘there are only two genders’

The ‘Harry Potter’ author insists there is a clear difference between biology and identity
J.K. Rowling denies ever saying ‘there are only two genders’

Author J.K. Rowling, a controversial figure for her outspoken views on trans issues, has waded into the debate once again, arguing that the words “sex” and “gender” cannot be used interchangeably.

Responding to an article titled ‘Poll: Most Americans Agree With JK Rowling, There are Only Two Genders’ published earlier this week by US conservative news outlet CNSNews, the writer took to Twitter on Wednesday to dispute the premise of the piece. She pointed out that she had never, in fact, asserted that there were only two genders.

“Small but important point: I’ve never said there are only two genders. There are innumerable gender identities,” Rowling said, adding, however, “The question at the heart of this debate is whether sex or gender identity should form the basis of decisions on safeguarding, provision of services, sporting categories and other areas where women and girls currently have legal rights and protections.”

The story in question had cited a recent Rasmussen Reports poll that showed that some 75% of the Americans surveyed believe “there are only two genders.” However, Rowling opined that the piece had made a similar error to that made by many of her critics, and argued that “using the words ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ interchangeably obscures the central issue of this debate.”

The author directed readers to her June 2020 essay, in which she set out her reasons for speaking out on the issue and elaborated on why she believed the two concepts had to be kept distinct in the legal realm, among other arenas.  

The 3,600-word article did much back then to make Rowling a hot-button figure among trans rights activists. It had been written in response to the backlash she had received following a widely criticized post on Twitter in December 2019 in support of a woman who had lost her job over allegedly “transphobic” tweets. 

At the time of the essay’s publication, Rowling reported that she had received online “accusations and threats from trans activists,” and, over a year later, these have continued. Last month, she said, her address had been posted on Twitter by “three activist actors,” who had also taken and shared photos of her home in Scotland.

“Perhaps – and I’m just throwing this out there – the best way to prove your movement isn’t a threat to women, is to stop stalking, harassing and threatening us,” Rowling wrote after the incident.