Establishment Media Runs Away from J.K. Rowling’s Transgender Debate

J.K. Rowling
Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

The U.S. establishment media is running away from a lucrative click-bait debate on sex and science, which is sponsored by the wealthy and famous author of the Harry Potter franchise, J.K. Rowling.

The December 19 offer came when Rowling championed the free speech rights  of one woman — Maya Forestator — while simultaneously supporting sexual freedom, science, and the public’s right to recognize the different, equal, and complementary biological sexes of women and men.

Rowling’s tweeted support for sexual freedom, and free speech was ignored by pro-transgender groups, who spent their time jeering and chanting repetitive slogans.

The slogans were amplified by establishment media outlets, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, which avoided the fundamental sex, science, and speech issues raised by Rowling.

The only establishment journalist who engaged the debate turned out to be Andrew Sullivan, a British-born, sometimes-conservative gay author. The first half of his December 20 column in New York magazine was a passionate criticism of President Donald Trump, while the second half championed Rowling:

It’s vital to note that Forstater is prepared to treat any trans woman as a woman in real life, defends trans people’s rights to define themselves as they wish, has not been charged with any kind of harassment or in-person abuse, is happy to accept anyone’s adoption of any of a thousand possible genders, but simply refuses to say what she doesn’t believe: that sex can be chosen or assigned, rather than simply observed as a matter of biology. “I accept everybody’s gender identity; I just do not believe it overrides their sex,” she told the court. “I refuse to believe human beings can change their sex.” This view — almost universally held for millennia until five minutes ago, and rooted in the plain facts of science — is now, the court ruled, subject to legal sanction. Such a view is “incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others“ and “not worthy of respect in a democratic society.” So anyone expressing an opinion like Forstater’s can be fired with no recourse.

This is how J.K. Rowling tweeted her support of Forstater’s freedom of speech: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?” This completely liberal viewpoint defending a distinction between sex and gender was immediately trashed by the Twitter mob with the vitriol usually reserved for, well, Martina Navratilova, who also defended women’s sports as defined by sex, not gender, and was subject to mass obloquy.

Note that the judgment against Forstater rests not on the idea that she is wrong but that her argument is fundamentally illegitimate and shouldn’t even be entertained, let alone accorded respect. It rests on the banishment of a valid viewpoint from all public debate on a highly controversial matter. When you study the actual judgment, though, you find a lengthy discussion of chromosomes, hormones, gender, and sex in a complex arena. It’s clear that this is a real debate, that we have only just begun to think it through, that there are some fascinating philosophical questions involved, and that more research and debate is needed. But the ruling determines that one side in that debate can participate only under the threat of punitive sanctions.

In contrast, the progressive staff at the Washington Post demoted the dispute to its “Internet culture” columnists, who focused almost entirely on those pro-transgender complaints.  “J.K. Rowling tried to make her work more inclusive. Then she tweeted support for an anti-trans researcher,” said their headline.

The Post also printed a December 21 emotional op-ed response by a pro-transgender lobbyist:

In the magical world of Harry Potter, the justice-minded and rebellious adolescent characters drink something called “Polyjuice Potion” to temporarily take on the general appearance of other people, even those of entirely different anatomies and gender expressions. As a teenager, I remember reading this and thinking, “Oh God, I wish it were that easy.”

Waking up Thursday morning to Rowling’s unequivocal defense of Forstater was searing. I felt foolish and betrayed. I felt guilty for not affirming my siblings in the trans and non-binary community who had the courage to speak out against her history with conviction.

The New York Times‘ article followed the same pro-transgender format, with its headline saying “J.K. Rowling Criticized After Tweeting Support for Anti-Transgender Researcher.” The article quoted three critics but offered no quotes from supporters of Rowling or Forstator.

The New York Times blocked reader comments. The Washington Post allowed comments on its news article, and the comments  — were overwhelming in favor of Rowling and against the article’s authors. 

Many other outlets were even worse. posted two pro-transgender articles, with the headlinesJ.K. Rowling’s latest tweet seems like transphobic BS. Her fans are heartbroken,” and “J.K. Rowling’s transphobia is a product of British culture.”

Most media outlets just sketched the fight without describing the feminist case against the aggressive demands of the transgender ideology. Even the Associated Press spotlighted the transgender complaints while downplaying the arguments for Rowling’s sex-beats-gender experience.

Unexpectedly, CNN’s article looked past the pro-transgender complaints, but its London-based business reporter posted that article. She reported:

But aside from the outpouring of criticism, the author also received plenty of praise for what her defenders believe is a strong feminist statement. The clash that ensued illustrates an ongoing debate that’s been happening in Britain around trans rights and feminism.
Writer and campaigner Helen Saxby was one of those who voiced her support for Forstater and Rowling. “If we are forced to say ‘transwomen are women,’ women’s rights disappear overnight, and we are left with people’s rights,” she said on Twitter, adding: “People’s rights favour men because men are the default people. That’s why we fought for women’s rights in the first place.”

But the establishment media cannot block the debate, partly because it is continuing in Breitbart, and online, despite Twitter’s skewed pro-transgender rules. For example, Twitter bars reference to the sex of transgender people, while allowing pro-transgender activists to stereotype their critics as ‘TERFs.”

British comedian Ricky Gervais ridiculed the pro-transgender activists.

The Women’s Liberation Front group spotlighted the growing left-wing opposition to the transgender push.

The pro-transgender groups responded with slogans, abuse, and emotional blackmail.

Breitbart has extensively covered the pro-transgender groups that say the government should force Americans to accept the chaotic claims of diverse sexual identities by people who claim to have a “gender” that somehow does not match their body and brain.

Breitbart has also covered the flip-side — the conservative and feminist Americans who want the government to support their evolved civic rules and laws which were developed to help women and men prosper equally and freely, and which recognize that the two sexes have different and complementary needs because they are biologically different and complementary.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.