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OPINION - Rachel Johnson: When it comes to trans issues, JK Rowling is the heir to George Orwell

JK Rowling made a series of comments on social media after Scotland’s new hate crime law came into effect
JK Rowling made a series of comments on social media after Scotland’s new hate crime law came into effect

We turn to a toxic subject I haven’t been brave enough to tackle in all my years as a columnist, and I’ll briefly explain why.

I had my fingers burnt in the Celebrity Big Brother “Year of the Woman” series back in 2018 when I was in the house with India Willoughby, who glories in her status and identity as the nation’s first trans newsreader.

Willoughby was voted out first because she either sulked operatically in her pants or yelled “I AM A WOMAN!” into the shocked faces of other female housemates like Ann Widdecombe and Amanda Barrie, the Carry On Cleo actress, then 83.

Upon ejection she went straight to the TV studios. “Rachel Johnson was the architect of my demise!” she announced. I’d asked to touch her tits, she went on, and refused to share a dormitory with her, but my biggest crime by far was “misgendering” her repeatedly “within an hour” of us lab rats entering our CCTV cage.

Which was curious because I hadn’t done any of that.

I decided not to rise to the bait, plus she’d blocked me on Twitter. But as I said, no biggie.

So why am I giving her the oxygen now? Why have I suddenly acquired such ovaries of tungsten? Three reasons.

First, because my “lived experience” of Willoughby was that she said things that she dearly wishes were true when they were not, which I contend is a central tenet of trans ideology.

Second, because the Scottish Hate Crime Act came in this week, which means north of the border you can be accused of stirring up hatred even in your own home because of race, religion, age, orientation and transgender identity, but not on the basis of sex: ergo a man who says he is a woman has more protection in law than a natural-born woman.

As you will know, on April Fool’s Day, JK Rowling killed this inept and McCarthyite law dead on arrival in a surgical strike with a series of lethal tweets in the course of which she called a bunch of trans women men.

“Scottish lawmakers seem to have placed higher value on the feelings of men performing their idea of femaleness, however misogynistically or opportunistically, than on the freedoms and rights of actual women and girls,” she explained, and her truth went around the world before the accepted lie had put its kinky boots on.

Third, because Willoughby then accused the Harry Potter author of “grotesque” transphobia and doubled down on a previous post saying “I’m more of a woman than JK Rowling will ever be.” At this point I might remind readers Willoughby has fathered children, and the Oxford English definition of a male is “the sex that can beget but not bear offspring”.

I don’t mind Willoughby attacking me, but I do mind her slandering JK Rowling, who has done such service for free speech

I don’t mind Willoughby attacking me, but I do mind her slandering JK Rowling, who has done such service for free speech and on behalf of my sex. She has single-handedly ushered in a new age of enlightenment in which I don’t have to pretend to my children’s friends that I think a woman can have a penis any more.

Also, Rishi Sunak agrees with JK Rowling. The police, it has been reported, aren’t going to make a federal case of her tweets. It is over. Ergo it is OK to say or write that transwomen are women if you define a woman as someone who identifies as a woman (and has maybe had an operation and other procedures). From a scientific or biological point of view, she’s not a woman, and it’s no hate crime to say so.

We owe JK Rowling more than thanks and praise. She is being hailed — and I accept I may live in a Terf-friendly echo chamber — as a female messiah for nailing herself to the wooden cross of truth to protect women from the lie that you can change biological sex.

She is the rightful heir to Orwell, who said freedom is the freedom to say two and two makes four and in a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

And what she has done goes beyond Scotland — beyond women, even. She has dared to speak truth to trans ideologists, and thereby re-asserted the importance of reality over magical thinking.

Oh, and if you think I’ve committed any crime in standing with Rowling, and want to terminate me, go ahead, make my day.

The link to the online reporting form is right here: scotland.police.uk/secureforms/c3

Rachel Johnson is a contributing editor for the Evening Standard