Scotland's Hate Crime Law Excludes J.K. Rowling After Transgender Comments on Social Media

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 04/02/2024
Scotland's new hate crime statute will not apply to J.K. Rowling, who disputed it on social media by claiming many transsexual women were males, police said Tuesday.

The Harry Potter author, a gender critic, made the remarks on Monday, when the crime of “stirring up hatred” against age, handicap, religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity took effect.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak advocated for her, saying “common sense” concerning biological sex should not be criminalisé.

Rowling's social media post prompted complaints to Police Scotland. “The comments are not assessed to be criminal and no further action will be taken,” a spokeswoman stated.

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf claimed the law will “protect people from a rising tide of hatred”.

“Unless your behavior is threatening or abusive and intended to incite hatred, then you have nothing to worry about with the new offenses,” he stated.

The Scottish National Party-led administration in Edinburgh is considering sexism changes, but women are not protected.

Scotland has led the way in transgender rights, but London thwarted a prior move to make it simpler to alter a legal gender due to worries it would violate equality laws.

Commentators have also raised worries about the new hate crime law's influence on free expression and its potential to suppress women-only space advocates.

Rowling crossed the line by putting 10 trans women, including a convicted rapist, sex abusers, and high-profile campaigners, as males on X.

“Freedom of speech and belief are at an end in Scotland if the accurate description of biological sex is criminal,” she added.

I am temporarily abroad, but if what I have said here violates the new statute, I expect to be jailed when I return to the cradle of the Scottish Enlightenment.”

Scottish authorities have indicated the new legislation would not criminalize misgendering.

On Monday, Minister for Victims and Community Safety Siobhan Brown told BBC radio it would be up to police.

Sunak said Britain had a rich free speech heritage and that the new legislation had misaligned police objectives.

“We should not criminalize people saying common sense things about biological sex,” he told reporters. “Clearly wrong.”

Rowling mentioned Britain's first transgender newsreader, India Willoughby, who questioned why people should “publicly denigrate and mock” trans people.

“What a pitiful sight. The world's most famous author staying up all night to compose a big troll piece about me because she hates trans people. Completely insane,” Willoughby said.

The Scottish Police Federation said officers were enforcing new regulations with limited resources.

"We are anticipating a high number of social media post complaints and it will clearly create a lot of extra work," it stated.


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