J K Rowling challenges Scottish hate crime law, UK govt comes out in her support

Apr2,2024



London: The British government said JK Rowling shouldn't be arrested for that transgender thoughts Scotland's new hate crime law is being challenged after a Harry Potter author challenged Scotland's new hate crime law with a social media post claiming that many trans women were men.
Rowling, a prominent gender-critical campaigner, made the comments on Monday, the day the crime of “inciting hatred” related to age, disability, religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity came into effect. On conviction, a fine can be imposed and a prison sentence of up to seven years.

The new hate crimes law has also faced criticism over its impact Freedom of expression And there are concerns that it could be used to silence certain views, including those who advocate for women-only spaces.

Rowling tested the law by listing 10 trans women, including a convicted rapist, sexual abusers and high-profile activists, on X and saying they were men. “If accurate descriptions of biological sex are criminalised, freedom of speech and belief will be eroded in Scotland,” he said. “I am out of the country at the moment, but if what I have written here qualifies as an offense under the terms of the new Act, I expect to be arrested on my return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment.”

Asked about the criticism, Scotland's First Minister Hamza Yousaf said the bill was about “protecting people from a rising tide of hatred”. Yusuf said, “It's not the Twitter police. It's not the activists, it's not the media. Thank God it's not the police, even the politicians who ultimately decide whether a crime has been committed or not.” He said that “it is up to the police to investigate, and the bar of criminality is incredibly high.” “As long as your behavior is not threatening and is not intended to incite hatred, you have nothing to worry about.”

Police Scotland said it had received complaints in relation to Rowling's post. “(But) the comments are not considered criminal and no further action will be taken,” it said.

Earlier, PM Rishi Sunak said that Britain has a proud tradition of freedom of expression and the new law has given wrong priorities to the police. “We should not be criminalizing people who say common sense things about biological sex,” he told reporters. “Clearly this is not right.”

India Willoughby, Britain's first transgender newsreader and one of those listed by Rowling, questioned why anyone should “publicly vilify and mock” trans people. “The world's most famous author sat up all night to write a long-winded troll post about me because she was filled with hatred towards trans people.”
Scotland has been at the forefront of giving rights to the transgender community, but a previous bid to make legal gender changes easier was blocked by London over concerns it would impact existing equality law.
(Reuters and NYT)



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