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LGBT+ authors quit JK Rowling’s writing agency over its lack of support for trans rights

Vic Parsons June 22, 2020
Authors quit JK Rowling agency over its failure to support trans rights

Four authors have quite JK Rowling's writing agency over its refusal to publicly affirm its commitment to trans rights. (Getty/The Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Four authors have quit the writing agency that represents JK Rowling after claiming it failed to stand up for the trans community in the wake of the Harry Potter author’s transphobic essay.

The writers were signed to The Blair Partnership and include Drew Davies, Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, Fox Fisher, and one writer who has remained anonymous.

In a statement about their decision to resign from The Blair Partnership, the four said they were “saddened and disappointed” to have to resign.

“After JK Rowling’s – who is also signed to the agency – public comments on transgender issues, we reached out to the agency with an invitation to reaffirm their stance to transgender rights and equality,” the statement says.

“After our talks with them, we felt that they were unable to commit to any action that we thought was appropriate and meaningful.

As LGBT+ writers ourselves we feel strongly about having an agency that supports our rights at all avenues, and does not endorse views that go against our values and principles.”

The London-based Blair Partnership represents all aspects of JK Rowling’s work.

Responding to the resignation of four of its authors, the agency told The Guardian that it was proud of the diversity of views among its authors but that it would not compromise on the “fundamental freedom” of allowing its authors to express their beliefs.

A spokesperson said it would always champion diverse voices and believe in freedom of speech for all but it was not willing to have staff “re-educated” to meet the demands of a small group of clients.

Ugla told PinkNews that the group had suggested The Blair Partnership commit to trans awareness training in-house, as well as asking for a public statement in support of trans rights.

“Any workplace that champions and values diversity and inclusion would welcome the opportunity to have a training, regardless of stance, because any workplace benefits from having minority rights raised in the workplace,” they said.

“To us it seems like they are unwilling and unable to have an open and honest discussion about the workplace. This is one of the reasons that we don’t feel like we belong there anymore.”

The statement from the authors continued: “We stand in solidarity with LGBT+ – and allied – staff in all areas of publishing who are working incredibly hard to champion diverse voices and experiences to challenge the homogeneity of the industry.

“But the issues of inequality and oppression are far reaching, from racism to ableism and sexism.

“Agencies and publishers need to create platforms for underrepresented groups from the ground up and make meaningful change within their culture.

“Representation must extend into real and authentic representation of diverse voices.”

Ugla and their partner, Fox Fisher, had been signed to The Blair Partnership since September 2019.

They claim that following the JK Rowling tweets and essays about her thoughts regarding trans people, other authors at the agency received phone calls from the CEO – but, despite reaching out several times, the trans authors at the agency heard nothing.

“We can’t talk about freedom of speech if minorities voices aren’t being heard,” Ugla added.

The Blair Partnership was founded in 2011, with JK Rowling as one of its key clients.

The resignation of four of its authors comes just a week after staff at publishing house Hachette threatened to down tools on Rowling’s new children’s book, The Ickabog, over her relentless anti-trans tirade.

 

More: Fox Fisher, JK Rowling, the blair partnership, the ickabog, trans rights, Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir

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