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JK Rowling Criticizes Labour for “Abandoning” Women Over Transgender Rights Stance

London, June 22, 2024, The Europe Today: Renowned author J.K. Rowling has openly criticized the Labour Party, accusing it of “abandoning” women due to its stance on transgender rights. Writing in The Times, the Harry Potter creator expressed her disillusionment with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, stating she holds a “poor opinion” of his character.

The former Labour donor accused the party, under Starmer’s leadership, of adopting a “dismissive and often offensive” approach to women’s concerns. This critique comes after Sir Keir appeared to shift his position on transgender rights during a BBC Question Time election special.

In response to Rowling’s comments, Sir Keir Starmer said: “I do respect her and I would point out the long track record Labour has in government of passing really important legislation that has enhanced the rights of women.” He emphasized that “these challenges are never over” and highlighted the “further progress” outlined in Labour’s election manifesto.

Rowling’s discontent stems from Starmer’s recent statements on transgender issues, which seem to contradict his earlier remarks. Last year, he asserted that “99.9% of women” do not have a penis and previously criticized Labour MP Rosie Duffield for saying “only women have a cervix.” However, in the recent debate, Starmer aligned with former Labour leader Tony Blair, stating “biologically, a woman is with a vagina and a man is with a penis.”

Rowling argued that Starmer’s comments suggested that Duffield’s words were “unkind, toxic, and hard line,” while similar sentiments from Tony Blair had been deemed reasonable. She stressed that the issue for “left-leaning women” like herself is not about denying trans people their rights but about protecting women’s rights to assert their boundaries, freedom of speech, and observable truth.

In her article, Rowling reiterated her difficulty in supporting Labour while it remains “dismissive and often offensive towards women fighting to retain the rights their foremothers thought were won for all time.” Rowling, who donated £1 million to Labour in 2008, has become increasingly critical of the party’s position on gender issues.

A Labour spokesperson responded, stating: “Sex and gender are different, as Labour’s Equality Act makes clear. That’s why we have consistently said that we will not introduce self ID and that we will protect single-sex spaces for biological women.”

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination based on “protected characteristics,” including age, disability, religion, race, sex, and sexual orientation. There is ongoing debate over whether “sex” refers strictly to biological sex or includes gender recognition certificates.

The Conservative Party has proposed changing the act to apply strictly to biological sex, arguing that single-sex spaces and services should not be open to biologically male individuals who identify as female. Labour maintains that the current Equality Act already protects single-sex spaces for biological women but has pledged to provide “clearer guidance” on the matter if elected.