Connect with us

United Kingdom

J.K. Rowling condemns trans activists protesting outside her home

Rowling claimed the protestors were “doxxing” her to “intimidate” her out of “out of speaking up for women’s sex-based rights”

Published

on

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND — J.K. Rowling took to Twitter Monday to condemn three trans activists who protested in front of her home, accusing them of deliberately leaking her address. 

The “Harry Potter” author named comedian Holly Stars, actor Georgia Frost and drag performer Richard Energy in her Twitter thread that said they “carefully position[ed] themselves to ensure that our address was visible.”

The activists, protesting past Rowling tweets that many have called transphobic, held signs that read “Trans liberation now,” “Don’t be a cissy” and “Trans rights are human rights,” according to Pink News

Rowling claimed the protestors were “doxxing” her to “intimidate” her out of “out of speaking up for women’s sex-based rights.” She added: “They should have reflected on the fact that I’ve now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them, and I haven’t stopped speaking out.”

She also named several writers who have made anti-LGBTQ+ comments in the past, saying they “have been subject to campaigns of intimidation which range from being hounded on social media, the targeting of their employers, all the way up to doxing and direct threats of violence, including rape.”

“None of these women are protected in the way I am,” she said. “They and their families have been put into a state of fear and distress for no other reason than that they refuse to uncritically accept that the socio-political concept of gender identity should replace that of sex.”

In the wake of her Monday tweets, the three activists have all either deleted their Twitter accounts or made them private.

In her widely condemned 2020 tweets, Rowling belittled trans people, saying, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

In response to the backlash, Rowling tweeted, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth. The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women—i.e., to male violence—‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences—is a nonsense.”

“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them,” she continued. “I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”

Yet, many people, including trans rights experts, disagreed. 

“There’s just no evidence that me being me is causing problems for any of the other women I’ve met,” tweeted Paris Lees, a trans journalist. “If there are ever any problems between women and trans women they should be dealt with sensitively and sensibly on a case by case basis. Please, for the love of God, leave us alone.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

United Kingdom

Boris Johnson’s LGBTQ rights advisor visits U.S.

Nick Herbert praises efforts to evacuate LGBTQ Afghans

Published

on

Nick Herbert, a member of the British House of Lords who advises Prime Minister Boris Johnson on LGBTQ issues, speaks at the Victory Institute's 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in D.C. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

WASHINGTON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s advisor on LGBTQ issues last week applauded his government’s efforts to help facilitate the successful evacuation of LGBTQ Afghans from the country.

“I’m very proud of the tremendous work that’s been done by the U.K. government,” Nick Herbert, a member of the British House of Lords, told the Los Angeles Blade on Dec. 1 during an interview in D.C. “The U.K. has shown global leadership here.”

A group of 29 LGBTQ Afghans who Stonewall, Rainbow Railroad and Micro Rainbow evacuated from Afghanistan with the help of the British government arrived in the U.K. on Oct. 29. Herbert on Nov. 6 announced a second group of LGBTQ Afghans had reached the country.

“It took … a strong effort with different parts of government working together and the determination that this was really important and that people’s safety was at risk and also that we have a moral obligation to the communities affected,” said Herbert.

The Taliban entered Kabul, the Afghan capital, on Aug. 15 and regained control of the country.

A Taliban judge has said the group would once again execute people if it were to return to power in Afghanistan. Rainbow Railroad and Taylor Hirschberg, a researcher at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health who is also a Hearst Foundation scholar, and others have been working to help evacuate LGBTQ Afghans from the country.

Advocacy groups continue to urge the Biden administration to do more to help LGBTQ Afghans who remain in Afghanistan.

Herbert noted the British government has committed to grant asylum to 10,000 Afghans under the country’s “Operation Warm Welcome” that seeks “to ensure the Afghans who stood side by side with us in conflict, their families and those at highest risk who have been evacuated, are supported as they now rebuild their lives in the U.K.” Herbert stressed this program will “prioritize” LGBTQ people and other at-risk groups in Afghanistan.

“This shows the power of working together and governments working in partnership with NGOs to achieve something,” he told the Blade. “I fully recognize there were lots of citizens who remained in Afghanistan, and so nevertheless, I think it was very heartening to see that those Afghan citizens who are most at risk were brought to the center.”

Herbert said he expects more LGBTQ Afghans will be “brought to safety,” but he declined to provide a specific number.

Johnson raised LGBTQ rights crackdown with Hungarian prime minister

Herbert spoke with the Blade before he participated in the Victory Institute’s International LGBTQ Leaders Conference that took place in-person at the JW Marriott in D.C. from Dec. 2-4.

Johnson in May appointed Herbert as his LGBTQ rights advisor.

Herbert is the first person who officially advises a British prime minister on LGBTQ issues. The former House of Commons member also co-founded the Global Equality Caucus, a group of LGBTQ elected officials around the world who work to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Herbert throughout the interview noted his government continues to champion LGBTQ rights.

The British government on World AIDS Day pledged more than £23 million ($30.5 million) in additional funding to efforts that seek to “achieve zero new HIV infections, AIDS and HIV related deaths in England” by 2030. The British government also announced it would move to allow people with HIV/AIDS to serve in the country’s armed forces.

“It’s a legacy discriminatory policy that has no basis in sound science any longer,” said Herbert, referring to the policy against people with HIV/AIDS in the British military. “It’s entirely safe for people to serve, and we think they should be free to do so.”

A public comment period on a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy in England and Wales is underway.  Herbert also expressed concern over the increasing backlash over efforts to expand rights to transgender people in the U.K.

“I’m troubled by the debate,” he said. “I recognize that … this is a that a complicated issue where you have an assertion of conflicting rights. But I don’t think it’s acceptable to see some of the sort of angry exchanges of language that has been seen over the course of the last few months.”

“It’s very damaging,” added Herbert.

Herbert noted to the Blade that Johnson rose Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ crackdown with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán when the two men met in May in London. Herbert also highlighted the British government in June will host a global LGBTQ rights conference that will coincide with London Pride’s 50th anniversary.

“The prime minister, by the way, has always been very ready to raise these issues, both when foreign secretary and now as prime minister, which is why I think he wants to hold this conference on the agenda,” said Herbert.

“We have to stand together with other countries to express our concern about what is happening,” he added. “We also must take a strong stance against culture wars, and I think governments joining in culture wars results in harm to citizens.”

U.K. has ‘historic responsibility’ for anti-LGBTQ laws in former colonies

Consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized in dozens of countries around the world, and many of them are former British colonies.

Then-Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 said she “deeply” regrets colonial-era criminalization laws the U.K. introduced. Herbert spoke with the Blade two days after the Botswana Court of Appeals upheld a 2019 ruling that decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in the country.

“We want to work with our partners in encouraging countries to try to change those laws,” Herbert told the Blade.

He stressed the British government has “to guard against any idea that we’re being so neocolonial,” while adding the U.K. has a “historic responsibility for these laws and their legacy.”

“The position we approach (with) this is one of respect where we, along with other countries, are encouraging decriminalization,” said Herbert. “We want to work with countries that will work with us to support them in that journey. We have to recognize that all countries have been on a journey.”

Herbert noted to the Blade that homosexuality was criminalized in the U.K. when he was born.

“We need to remember that other countries are different points of the journey, but it doesn’t all happen at once. And they have to make their own decisions on this and we have to encourage them to support them to do so,” he said. “I don’t think that this is a case of Britain lecturing, certainly not a case of dictating. It’s a question of encouraging.”

Herbert also questioned the use of sanctions against countries that enact anti-LGBTQ laws.

The British government late last year sanctioned three Chechen officials who are responsible for the anti-LGBTQ crackdown in the semi-autonomous Russian republic that continues. Herbert described these sanctions as “justified,” but said the British government has “to be careful of blunt instruments that may backfire.”

“There can be different ways to make our feelings known and to encourage countries to do the right thing,” he said.

Continue Reading

United Kingdom

Manchester LGBTQ+ pub owners walk away after violent attacks

Masked attackers ambushed bouncers, smashed a window and made homophobic comments after they were denied entry into the venue

Published

on

The Levenshulme pub, Manchester UK via Facebook

MANCHESTER, UK — The owners of the Levenshulme, a beloved LGBTQ+ pub in Manchester, are walking away from the bar after a string of violent incidents. 

“Due to lots of recent events with aggression and violence and also having to pull back after the pandemic we feel it’s the right time to leave the pub,” the two owners, Colin Campbell and Chris Thompson, wrote on Facebook

According to Manchester Evening News, masked attackers ambushed bouncers, smashed a window and made homophobic comments after they were denied entry into the venue in July. The bar was running at limited capacity because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It was vicious. Absolutely horrible,” Campbell told the newspaper at the time. 

It was not the first time the pub owners have been subjected to such attacks. According to their Facebook post, the two bought the bar in 2016, but left after they were robbed. 

In 2019, the pub became available again, and they decided to “take the risk,” introducing “the LGBTQ+ concept.” 

“We would like to thank each and every one of you that have supported us whilst we have been proprietors of the Levenshulme,” they said. “We have had the most amazing time and we feel like the community has taken to us well, especially with the concept that we implemented.” 

They also encouraged patrons to “enjoy your time here with us while we still can,” before they leave in January.

Continue Reading

United Kingdom

Another group of LGBTQ Afghans arrive in U.K.

Taliban has threatened to execute gay people

Published

on

International arrivals area, London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 (Photo credit: UK Border Force)

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s LGBTQ rights envoy has said another group of LGBTQ Afghans has arrived in the country.

Nick Herbert, who is a member of the British House of Lords, in a tweet said the group “arrived in the U.K. safely” on Nov. 5.

A group of 29 LGBTQ Afghans who Stonewall, Rainbow Railroad and Micro Rainbow evacuated from Afghanistan with the help of the British government arrived in the U.K. on Oct. 29. Herbert in his tweet did not say how many LGBTQ Afghans are part of the second group.

The Taliban entered Kabul, the Afghan capital, on Aug. 15 and regained control of the country.

A Taliban judge in July said the group would once again execute gay people if it were to return to power in Afghanistan.

Some of the 50 Afghan human rights activists who Taylor Hirschberg, a researcher at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health who is also a Hearst Foundation scholar, has been able to help leave the country since the Taliban regained control of it are LGBTQ. Rainbow Railroad, Immigration Equality and the Human Rights Campaign are among the groups that continue to urge the Biden administration to do more to help LGBTQ Afghans who remain in the country.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular