J.K. Rowling Says She Would 'Happily' Serve Time in Prison for Views on Gender Identity

(AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)

Author J.K. Rowling recently indicated that she would be willing to “happily” serve prison time for her views on transgenderism, which have become quite controversial in the United Kingdom and among those with nothing more important to worry about. Given the U.K.’s evolving laws on hate speech and gender identity, this is no empty claim.

Rowling made her statements amid news stories indicating that the U.K.’s Labour Party wishes to throw people in cages for using the wrong pronouns. This follows a myriad of high-profile cases in which the government has punished people for not adhering to progressive ideas about gender identity.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Rowling responded to the issue.

I’ll happily do two years if the alternative is compelled speech and forced denial of the reality and importance of sex. Bring on the court case, I say. It’ll be more fun than I’ve ever had on a red carpet.

I'll happily do two years if the alternative is compelled speech and forced denial of the reality and importance of sex. Bring on the court case, I say. It'll be more fun than I've ever had on a red carpet.

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 17, 2023

Rowling's remarks came in response to a Daily Mail report suggesting that “[d]eliberately calling someone by the ‘wrong’ gender pronouns could become a hate crime punishable by imprisonment under a Labour government.” The party’s objective is to strengthen “sentencing guidelines for abuse and violence targeted at trans people” and make transphobic attacks “aggravated offenses.”

Those found to have violated the proposed laws could serve up to two years in prison.

Caroline Ffiske from Conservatives for Women criticized the idea. “Thousands of women dispute the notion of ‘gender identity’ and particularly the idea that it should be prioritized over biological sex,” she told the Daily Mail.

The development might remind some of the case of Kate Scottow, who was arrested in 2019 for referring to a transgender woman as “he” and “him.”

St Albans magistrates’ court found Mrs Scottow guilty of persistently using a public communications network to cause annoyance and anxiety in February.

Fortunately, Scottow successfully appealed her case and no longer has a conviction on her record. But, under the Labour Party’s law, she may not have been so lucky.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Americans might be wondering just how far the nation is from adopting similar laws. Even in a country where the Constitution protects free speech, is it possible that the authoritarian left could find a way to subvert the First Amendment and use the power of the state to punish people who do not subscribe to their gender ideology?

It might not be easy given that speech is protected in the Constitution, but this does not mean such an eventuality is impossible. In Michigan, state lawmakers are pushing a bill that could potentially criminalize someone for misgendering a transgender individual.

A bill recently passed by the Michigan House of Representatives would make it a felony to “intimidate” someone by using the “wrong” pronoun. Under the new bill, offenders are “guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $10,000” — so-called “misgendering.”

The bill reads, in part:

‘Intimidate’ means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened.

Of course, the proposed legislation does not define what the term “harassment” means in this context. Currently, progressives have made use of cancel culture to punish those who say things they don’t like. But some have already been advocating for laws to punish “hate speech,” and similar legislation has already been passed in Canada, where a Christian preacher was convicted of harassing a transgender woman by referring to him as a “man.” The conviction was later overturned, but how long will it be before the country pulls a U.K. Labour Party and pushes for legislation that would criminalize people for their speech?

These stories highlight the importance of making sure we are vigilant about fighting back against efforts to use the government to violate our natural rights.


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