Targeted by the media and entertainment world as transphobic, J. K. Rowling, the best-selling author of the Harry Potter saga, has decided to not only defend herself but to go on the offensive. Her latest initiative is the launch of a support centre for female victims of sexual violence.
The initiative might seem harmless and in keeping with the times. But Rowling set up the project with a specific idea in mind: to offer biological women a place where they can feel genuinely safe and protected from the outrages of wokeism, cancel culture, and ‘transgender’ ideology. For Rowling, this is authentic feminism.
Even as she continues to be harassed on social media and receive death threats for her alleged transphobia, Rowling has chosen to become a standard-bearer for all those who wish to defend the uniqueness and importance of the female biological sex—a common sense stance that is now becoming disruptive and deeply politically incorrect.
The centre, planned to open in Edinburgh, is called Beira’s Place, named after an Irish deity symbolising femininity and regeneration. Why add a new centre when so many others already exist? For Rowling, the existing structures are no longer serving their purpose, as they are contaminated by the ideology of the moment.
In an interview with journalist Suzanne Moore, who was sacked from The Guardian for an article deemed transphobic, Rowling explains that the omnipresence of ‘transgender’ ideology has direct consequences for the reception of real women in pain. For example, she criticises the Rape Crisis Centre in Edinburgh for taking on the task of re-educating those individuals seeking care after an assault on the rights of transsexual people. When you’ve just been attacked, that’s not the kind of thing you want to hear, Rowling explains. The notorious centre criticised by the author has indeed chosen to blur the difference between biological and transgender women. In 2021, a transgender woman was even appointed to the position of chief executive of the institution. The newly appointed director is reported to have told victims that they needed to “rethink their trauma”—a particularly perverse form of mental re-education in such situations, according to Rowling.
The centre built by Harry Potter’s creator is unique in that it is entirely private and self-funded: Rowling does not want to run the risk of being held to account if she receives public funding, or of being told she has to close it down because of transphobia: transgender women are not allowed in.
A recurring motif in Rowling’s thinking in her latest public appearances is to use her celebrity status and considerable financial wealth to engage concretely in projects that are in line with her values. She intends to make the defence of the female biological sex, an unalterable and incompressible reality, one of her privileged battle horses. “The line that I have met in a couple of places is that there is no universal experience of womanhood. Well, there is a common experience: it’s being female. But if you remove that from any serious analysis, everything falls apart,” she says.