February 23, 2023

ENGLAND: J.K. Rowling Revolt At The NYTimes As Reporters Protest Actual Journalism. Journalist EJ Rosetta Writes, "JK Rowling Transphobic? How I Went From Spreading This False Narrative To Seeing Right Through It."

Redacted published February 19, 2023: J.K. Rowling revolt at the NYTimes as reporters protest actual journalism. The New York Times is the subject of debate around transgender issues. On Wednesday, a group of 200 writers published a letter to the paper stating concerns over the paper’s coverage of trans issues. The next day the paper featured a story about JK Rowling who trans rights activists consider Public Enemy Number One. We go over these arguments plus new legislation in Maryland that would prevent health care professionals from telling transitioners about adverse effects.

The Daily Mail, UK
written by Lewis Pennock
Thursday February 16, 2023

The New York Times has published an op-ed in support of J.K. Rowling's views on transgender issues a day after two open letters signed by hundreds of its own staff and celebrities accused the paper of anti-trans 'bias'.

A piece from Pamela Paul, an opinion columnist, called the abuse faced by Rowling 'absurd' and asserted that 'nothing Rowling has said qualifies as transphobic'.

In the piece published on Thursday morning, Paul writes: 'If more people stood up for J.K. Rowling, they would not only be doing right by her; they'd also be standing up for human rights, specifically women's rights, gay rights and, yes, transgender rights. They'd also be standing up for the truth.'

The piece published on Thursday came 24 hours after two open letters were sent to the Times criticizing its coverage of trans issues.

The Times issued a response defending its journalism, and its subsequent decision to publish the pro-Rowling piece indicates the paper has not been deterred from sharing a range of views in the debate.

Paul refers to the new 'The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling' podcast by Megan Phelps-Roper - a former member of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church - based on nine hours of interviews with Rowling which explore her views and the backlash faced by the author.

The op-ed states: 'As Rowling herself notes on the podcast, she's written books where "from the very first page, bullying and authoritarian behavior is held to be one of the worst of human ills".

'Those who accuse Rowling of punching down against her critics ignore the fact that she is sticking up for those who have silenced themselves to avoid the job loss, public vilification and threats to physical safety that other critics of recent gender orthodoxies have suffered.'

A day earlier, a letter signed by 170 staff and contributors to Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards at the Times, accused the paper of 'editorial bias in [its] reporting on transgender, non⁠-⁠binary, and gender nonconforming people'.

The signatories claim 'the Times has in recent years treated gender diversity with an eerily familiar mix of pseudoscience and euphemistic, charged language, while publishing reporting on trans children that omits relevant information about its sources'.

The litany of complaints include using sources linked to 'anti-trans hate groups' and the paper's historical approaches to reporting LGBTQ issues.

A second letter published on Wednesday by GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy organization, which is signed by celebrities and activists, further accused the Times of 'irresponsible, biased coverage of transgender people'.

The letter states: 'It is appalling that the Times would dedicate so many resources and pages to platforming the voices of extremist anti-LGBTQ activists who have built their careers on denigrating and dehumanizing LGBTQ people, especially transgender people.'

Charlie Stadtlander, a spokesman for the Times, said its stories on the subject, including several cited in the open letters, were reported 'deeply and empathetically', adding: 'Our journalism strives to explore, interrogate and reflect the experiences, ideas and debates in society – to help readers understand them. Our reporting did exactly that and we're proud of it.'

GLAAD has repeatedly criticized J.K. Rowling's contributions to the debate around trans rights, including the Harry Potter author's support for single-sex spaces for biological women.

The organization's 'accountability project' has a page dedicated to what it describes as Rowling's 'anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and discriminatory actions'.

Signatories of the GLAAD letter include a string of campaign groups, along with celebrities including Jameela Jamil, Gabrielle Union, Judd Apatow and Tommy Dorfman.

The other letter was signed by Times writers and contributors including whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who is trans, culture reporter David Itzkoff and actress Cynthia Nixon.

The Scotsman, Scotland local
written by EJ Rosetta
Wednesday December 21, 2022

From sniggering at memes of her antics twisted by LGBTQ activists to seeing this fabrication float across my news feed, it had become fact. In my mind, not only was she actively anti-trans, but she was outright spreading hate and likely homophobic, too! How disappointing.

I packed my Potter books away and said goodbye to my childhood friends as Harry, Ron and Hermione were locked down. JK’s books had changed me for the better and it felt like a break-up! I wasn’t sad, I was angry.

“How could she?” thought I. How could Rowling have gone from the maestro of my childhood to a monster? The answer is she didn’t. The monster is a myth and here’s how I came back home.

I can’t remember the first time I saw the “JK is transphobic!” narrative but in PR there is ‘the Rule of Seven’ which says that once you have seen a brand name, TV show or whatever seven times you remember it. This is how the Rowling myth was implanted into my head.

Largely, LGBTQ media have determined this false narrative to be a ‘top seller’ and have long stopped caring if it is true. I am ashamed to say that I denounced Rowling and even said I would burn my childhood copy of Harry Potter, so wrongfully banished to the cupboard under my stairs. In 2020, after I saw yet another “JK’s at it again!” article, Rowling had been cemented in my mind as a hateful, transphobic bigot. Then someone came along and changed that. Rowling herself.

She didn’t knock on my door or bump into me on the street, it was her words that changed me for the better. To begin with, though, I wasn’t reading them of my own accord.

I had been tasked with writing a clickbait article entitled “20 transphobic JK Rowling quotes we’re done with”, which I had enthusiastically accepted. However, while collecting my list of quotes, it felt like they must be wearing an invisibility cloak. I couldn’t find a single one!

For example, in July, Rowling tweeted a thread detailing her concerns about the medicalisation of trans children. It was branded “transphobic” because it asked the-question-that-must-not-be-asked about the reality of medical care, still in its infancy, being applied to children. On second look, I saw that Rowling simply concurs with professionals that lifelong medicalisation and loss of fertility is not in the best interests of children. That is actually care for trans people, not condemnation of them.

She was saying “there are downsides that I feel should be discussed” not “I hate trans people”. She had taken the time to research the matter, understood what could be holding back progression for trans healthcare and raised awareness for its betterment. That, I would say, is pro-trans, not anti-trans.

It dawned on me: JK wasn’t transphobic, she was standing up for women’s rights in a real and meaningful way. I was surprised anew as I found that, when I approached her words in an unbiased way, I agreed with every point she made.

But hang on, wasn’t this woman a raging bigot? I checked my social media and yes, there I was band-wagoning about book-burning and burying her reputation. I wanted to support the trans community, having been a proud ally and advocate for years (even considering coming out as non-binary), and it’s the number-one rule of ally-ship that if a trans person says so, it is so. My head started to hurt as two completely opposing truths collided. What in the faulty bludger was I to do next?!

With no sorting hat handy to tell me where I belonged, I started with my friends, mainly LGBTQ people with emphasis on T, who all made the same claim: Rowling is transphobic. I asked for proof. The excuses I was given in lieu of actual evidence were ridiculous and hilarious in equal measure. I poured back over JK’s tweets, essays, books and interviews, scouring for every scrap I could find. I reached out to trans people, begging them to educate me about JK’s perceived crimes. But in the end, I had to admit defeat.

To claim Rowling is transphobic because her time and focus are so often spent on women’s rights is like telling off a teapot for not giving you coffee. She is being judged by the book-cover someone else has put on her, and that sin has been committed largely by LGBTQ media, of which I am part.

It’s a lucrative business but Rowling is a billionaire, right? She’s deemed ‘fair game’ because at least she could go cry into her reported fortune. But then, just as I was about to write the article anyway (I have a cat to feed), something stopped me.

There it was, niggling at me: my conscience. I realised how wrong this all was! This whole “Rowling is transphobic” narrative has been a hack job of monumental proportions and we in the LGBTQ community are the fools who missed out most. We cursed one of our biggest allies, denounced and defamed her.

Having stalled for weeks, the final call came from my boss: “EJ, you either write this up or we give the title away.” Rather than letting my title go to another content creator who’d happily write it up, I decided to own it. I composed a Twitter thread about refusing to submit the article, then instead of the usual email to my editor with five articles for that week, there were only four. The final one read, “and as for the ‘JK 20 quotes’ I cannot write it, as detailed here” with the link.

Safe to say, I am very, very fired. Having refused to write the article, I lost my job. What I do have back, though, are the books I loved as a child, torn and worn from years of being read and reread, replaced to pride of place on my shelves again, a reminder of what journalistic integrity means.

As for JK’s response, she retweeted my words and thanked me. It struck me how incredibly gracious she was, after what me and my kind have done to her. A class act as always.

It is important to admit when you were wrong. Hard and humiliating? That too. Saving the best Potter line for last, I’ll end with this: journalists and content creators have been told we will be guaranteed a byline if we can come up with a good ‘JK Rowling is anti-trans!” article, but we would do well to remember: We Must Not Tell Lies.

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