SNP leadership candidates say JK Rowling is ‘brave’ and ‘a national treasure’

Two candidates running for leadership of the Scottish National Party agreed during a televised debate that JK Rowling was a “national treasure”.

The Scottish author of the Harry Potter book series has been the subject of ongoing backlash for her stance on transgender issues, which some critics have labeled “transphobic”.

Ash Regan, Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes were asked if Rowling was a “national treasure” during Sky News’ leadership debate on Monday (March 13).

Yousaf, the Scottish Government’s Health Secretary, said the author was “amazing in relation to the books she has written, but I strongly disagree with her on the issue of transgender rights”.

However, Forbes and Regan disagreed. “Yeah, and I think she’s brave,” Forbes replied when asked.

When asked if she disagreed with Rowling on transgender rights, Forbes replied, “No, I don’t disagree.”

Similarly, Regan replied, “I think she’s a national treasure, yes. I think she was very brave to speak out on an issue where quite ominous messages were received from many women who had legitimate concerns.”

Last year, Rowling wore a T-shirt that called the candidate’s predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, a “destroyer of women’s rights.”

The statement was made about Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Reform Act, which aims to make it easier for transgender people to be legally recognized as their preferred gender.

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Sturgeon responded to Rowling’s criticism by saying, “I’ve spent my whole life campaigning for women’s rights and I’m a passionate feminist with a lot of evidence of it.”

Rowling faced criticism over transgender issues in December 2019 when she spoke out for researcher Maya Forstater, a visiting scholar at the Center for Global Development, whose contract was not renewed after she made a series of anti-trans posts on social media had.

In June 2020, Rowling referenced the use of the phrase “people who menstruate” in an article.

You can read The Independent‘s chronicle of JK Rowling’s comments on women’s and transgender rights here. SNP leadership candidates say JK Rowling is ‘brave’ and ‘a national treasure’

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