JK RowlingÂ has revealed she is a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor as she has defended her right to speak about trans issues.
The Harry Potter creator has faced a backlash from trans activists who have taken issue with a series of social media posts.Â
In the latest controversy, a post byÂ RowlingÂ criticised the use of the phrase â€œpeople who menstruateâ€ and drew negative responses, including from Daniel Radcliffe, who played Potter in a series of films.
Rowling had taken issue with a headline on an online article discussing â€œpeople who menstruateâ€, and said: â€œIâ€™m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?â€
In December, last year she voiced her support for a researcher who was sacked after tweeting that transgender people cannot change their biological sex.
In a personal essay in which she explained the reasons for her position,Â Rowling, 54, detailed five reasons she felt the need to talk about the issue â€“ including her interest in â€œboth education and safeguardingâ€ and â€œfreedom of speechâ€.
Explaining her final reason, she wrote: â€œIâ€™ve been in the public eye now for over 20 years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor.
â€œThis isnâ€™t because Iâ€™m ashamed those things happened to me, but because theyâ€™re traumatic to revisit and remember.
â€œI also feel protective of my daughter from my first marriage. I didnâ€™t want to claim sole ownership of a story that belongs to her, too.
â€œHowever, a short while ago, I asked her how sheâ€™d feel if I were publicly honest about that part of my life and she encouraged me to go ahead.
â€œIâ€™m mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, whoâ€™ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces.â€
In the blog post, Rowling also said she was motivated to address transgender issues via her Twitter account because of what she sees as an increasingly misogynistic society.
â€œWeâ€™re living through the most misogynistic period Iâ€™ve experienced,â€ she continued.
â€œBack in the 80s, I imagined that my future daughters, should I have any, would have it far better than I ever did, but between the backlash against feminism and a porn-saturated online culture, I believe things have got significantly worse for girls.
â€œNever have I seen women denigrated and dehumanised to the extent they are now.
â€œFrom the leader of the free worldâ€™s long history of sexual assault accusations and his proud boast of â€˜grabbing them by the pussyâ€™, to the incel (â€˜involuntarily celibateâ€™) movement that rages against women who wonâ€™t give them sex, to the trans activists who declare that TERFs need punching and re-educating, men across the political spectrum seem to agree: women are asking for trouble.
â€œEverywhere, women are being told to shut up and sit down, or else.â€
Rowling said she had felt â€œmentally sexlessâ€ as a girl growing up in Gloucestershire, which had prompted her to develop mental health issues.
She wrote: â€œWhen I read about the theory of gender identity, I remember how mentally sexless I felt in youth.â€
She explained the concerns she has about how womenâ€™s rights and some young peopleâ€™s lives were being impacted by some forms of trans activism.
Some of the reasons for her interest were professional, but some were rooted in personal experience.
â€œIâ€™ve wondered whether, if Iâ€™d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition,â€ she wrote. â€œThe allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge.â€
Rowling said she had been influenced by Colette and Simone de Beauvoirâ€™s views of gender during this period.
She added: â€œAs I didnâ€™t have a realistic possibility of becoming a man back in the 1980s, it had to be books and music that got me through both my mental health issues and the sexualised scrutiny and judgment that sets so many girls to war against their bodies in their teens.
â€œFortunately for me, I found my own sense of otherness, and my ambivalence about being a woman, reflected in the work of female writers and musicians who reassured me that, in spite of everything a sexist world tries to throw at the female-bodied, itâ€™s fine not to feel pink, frilly and compliant inside your own head; itâ€™s OK to feel confused, dark, both sexual and non-sexual, unsure of what or who you are.â€
Addressing the specific issue of the use of phrases like â€œpeople who menstruateâ€ as a way of including trans women,Â RowlingÂ said such language was demeaning to many women.
â€œI understand why trans activists consider this language to be appropriate and kind, but for those of us whoâ€™ve had degrading slurs spat at us by violent men, itâ€™s not neutral, itâ€™s hostile and alienating.â€