Trans activists condemn The Sun for ‘cruel and misogynistic’ treatment of JK Rowling
More than 60 trans and non-binary writers, charity bosses, academics, lawyers and community leaders have signed an open letter condemning The Sun for its “dangerous, cruel, malicious and misogynistic” treatment of JK Rowling.
The performance artist Travis Alabanza, writer and journalist Shon Faye, author Andrea Lawlor, emergency medicine doctor Dr Ronx, comedian Sofie Hagen and Vogue columnist Kuchenga are among those who signed the open letter, which was sent to The Sun Monday (June 15).
“We write to you in shock and dismay at the abhorrent front page of The Sun newspaper in which you gave voice to JK Rowling’s abuser,” the letter to editor Victoria Newton begins.
“Misogyny is a pervasive force and one that treats survivors and victims of sexual and domestic violence as bylines to their abusers story.
“We stand alongside JK Rowling in this cruel and malicious reporting, which sends a dangerous message to all survivors that their stories are only valid when corroborated by their abusers.
“It sends a message to all survivors of domestic and sexual violence that they will not be believed, and it is dangerous.”
‘We stand alongside JK Rowling.’
Nim Ralph, a trans campaigner who coordinated the open letter, told PinkNews that they were “horrified” when they saw The Sun’s story, which they described as a “callous act of misogyny”.
“Straight away, I saw my trans-dominated Twitter feed fill up with outpourings of rage and sympathy on her behalf and I knew how important it was that we raise our voices collectively and in solidarity,” Ralph said.
“We stand alongside JK Rowling and all victims and survivors of gender-based violence. It might surprise some, given the impact of her words on the trans community.
“I was as hurt as the next trans person by her essay. But our struggles are connected.
“We have always been here in the fight against misogyny and gender-based violence; we will always speak up against it and fight back where we see it.
“Patriarchy is our shared oppressor.”
The Sun condemned by leading trans voices for interviewing ex-husband of JK Rowling.
Accusations that the tabloid’s article glorified domestic violence have also been levelled at The Sun by domestic abuse charities.
The story came in the wake of Rowling’s personal essay explaining her anti-trans views and included the disclosure that she is a surviver of domestic abuse.
“Though her disclosure of domestic violence came in the middle of a long post detailing her anti-trans views, this does nothing to alter our unwavering solidarity with all survivors of domestic violence including JK Rowling,” the open letter continues.
“We condemn your appalling and salacious front page; a violation of both dignity and privacy.
“Vulnerable groups should not be used to sell newspapers.
“As trans people we often fall victim to the same salacious reporting and stand against all misogyny and violence against women.”
Trans activists call on The Sun to apologise to JK Rowling.
The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch, is one of several UK newspapers that regularly platforms those with anti-trans views.
The paper has already received more than 500 complaints about the story, and now trans activists are calling for The Sun to apologise to JK Rowling.
The signatories to the letter make three key demands of The Sun: that the paper commits to following the IPSO-approved Level Up Guidelines on reporting on domestic violence; retracts the story, apologises to Rowling and dedicates print and online space to advertising domestic-violence services; and that Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks and Victoria Newton personally apologise for the story and are held to account for their role in it.
In response to criticism, The Sun defended its editorial decision, insisting that it had not meant to glorify domestic abuse.
“We were disgusted by the comments of JK Rowling’s husband, and branded him ‘sick’ and ‘unrepentant’ in our coverage,” a spokesperson said.
“It was certainly not our intention to ‘glorify’ or ‘enable’ domestic abuse, our intention was to expose a perpetrator’s total lack of remorse. Our sympathies are always with the victims.”
List of signatories.
Shon Faye, writer
Christine Burns MBE, author and retired campaigner
Travis Alabanza, artist
Roz Kaveney, poet and novelist
Juno Dawson, author and screenwriter
Rae Spoon, musician and writer
Neil McDonald MBE, campaigner
Emma Frankland, artist and writer
Nim Ralph, activist and writer
Cara English, head of public engagement, Gendered Intelligence
Maria Munir, trans lead, Amnesty Rainbow Network
Jo Gower, vice chair of Amnesty UK’s Rainbow Network
Dr Ronx, emergency medicine doctor, TV presenter
Dr Sam Martin, University of Oxford
Meg-John Barker, writer
Dr Harry Josephine Giles, writer and performer
Chay Brown, co-founder TransActual UK
Mia Violet, author
Rudy Loewe, visual artist
Mika Minio-Paluello, economist
Dr Ben Vincent, PhD
Freddy McConnell, journalist and writer
Dr Ruth Pearce, Trans Learning Partnership
Dr Natacha Kennedy, Goldsmiths College
Michelle O’Toole, What The Trans podcast
Andrea Di Giovanni, singer-songwriter and performer
Dr Jay Stewart, CE, Gendered Intelligence
Adi Daly-Gourdialsing, head of patient services, Gender GP
Juliet Jacques, writer and filmmaker
Fox Fisher, author and co-director of My Genderation
Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir (Owl), co-director of My Genderation
Tara Hewitt, co-founder Trans Equality Legal Initiative
Aidan Comerford, writer
Teddy Lamb, playwright and performer
Jamie Windust, writer
Alexa Moore, director of TransgenderNI
Ted Lavis Coward, member of Queer House Party
Rory Finn, co-founder Trans Can Sport
Sabah Choudrey, trans youth worker, public speaker, writer
Liv Wynter, artist, support worker, refuge worker
Adrianne Elson, TransPride NI
Rokayah Abdulmajed, activist and secondary school teacher
Sofie Hagen, comedian
Andrea Lawlor, writer
Claire Birkenshaw, Leeds Beckett University
Dr Isabel Waidner, University of Roehampton
Dr Bee Hughes, acting chair LJMU UCU, artist, educator and researcher
Kate Moross, creative director
Sarah Savage, chair of TransPride Brighton
Wednesday Holmes, artist and community organiser
Carla Ecola, founding director of The Outside Project and STAR Refuge
Dr Francis Ray White, University of Westminster
Dr Jennifer Fraser, University of Westminster
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Dr Michael Toze, PhD
Dr Tray Yeadon-Lee, academic
Dr Onni Gust, University of Nottingham
Vic Valentine, Scottish Trans Alliance policy officer
James Morton, Scottish Trans Alliance manager
Becky Kaufmann, Scottish Trans Alliance justice policy officer
Oceana Maund, Scottish Trans Alliance community engagement office
Sahaf Hardouf, Kolot HaKeshet