That turning of the tide has been slow

James Kirkup points out that many people have been staying quiet despite concerns, some even despite having plenty of money and clout.

Yet slowly, slowly, things are starting to change. More people are starting to talk, calmly and sensibly, about a matter of policy and culture that needs more discussion. Bit by bit, more people are starting to see that this is an issue that can and should be talked about.

That turning of the tide has been slow and modest, but today the pace quickened, a lot. The gender debate has seen an event that many people have been waiting for. JK Rowling has spoken.

In a single tweet, the woman who gave us Harry Potter, has quite deliberately entered a debate that many people have avoided for too long.

And she did so why? Because of the outrageous ruling in Maya Forstater’s case, that we are required to refer to other people by their special chosen reality-contradicting pronouns, or risk losing our jobs.

In narrow terms, the judgment might well have a chilling effect on that debate. But the broader effect of the Forstater case is that issues of sex and gender, the implications of transgenderism for society and individuals, are now going to be talked about by more people.

Because JK Rowling, lovely JK Rowling, is involved. JK Rowling who has 14 million followers on Twitter and a good claim to being one of the most popular and even beloved women in the world today. And as a result, people are going to talk about this, and about her.

I do not underestimate the courage it has taken for Rowling to do this. It’s easy to say ‘well, she’s got billions and a huge platform – what took her so long?’ but I think that’s unfair. With that fame comes pressure and scrutiny that the rest of us cannot imagine. By entering this arena, she is exposing herself to significant risks, volumes of criticism beyond anything most of humanity will ever experience. I applaud her.

Words matter, and with just a few words, JK Rowling has changed the gender debate for the better. The tide is turning, the waves are getting bigger. Thank you, JK.

Words matter, and truth matters.

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