JK Rowling has opened up for the first time about being a survivor of abuse and sexual assault.
The author spoke out in a lengthy statement seeking to clarify comments she has made about transgender people, which have been widely criticised.
It all began when the Harry Potter author shared a series of tweets that people claim are “transphobic”.
The author called out an article’s use of the phrase “people who menstruate”.
“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people,” she wrote, adding: “Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
While many Twitter users supported Rowling for her tweet, some people, celebrities included, criticised her comment as “anti-trans” and “transphobic”, arguing that transgender, non-binary and non-gender conforming people can also menstruate.
Rowling then added that she supports transgender rights and took issue with being labelled a “TERF”, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
She took to her website on Wednesday to explain “her reasons for speaking out on sex and gender issues”.
She began the lengthy piece, writing, “This isn’t an easy piece to write, for reasons that will shortly become clear, but I know it’s time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity. I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity.”
She continued: “I’ve been in the public eye now for over 20 years and have never talked publicly [about being a survivor].
“This isn’t because I’m ashamed those things happened to me, but because they’re traumatic to revisit and remember.”
She said she decided to share her experiences “out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces.”
The author insisted she feels “solidarity and kinship” when reading about “a trans woman dying at the hands of a violent man”, and that she has a “visceral sense” of the terror these women experience.
“I believe the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others, but are vulnerable for all the reasons I’ve outlined,” she added.
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