JK Rowling condemns police guidance which lets rapists self-identify as women

JK Rowling has condemned Police Scotland for “Orwellian” guidance which allows rapists to self-identify as women, as the author became embroiled in a new row over transgender rights.

The Harry Potter writer quoted George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984 in response to correspondence from Police Scotland, which states that rapes could be recorded as carried out by a woman if the perpetrator “identifies as female”.

Ms Rowling shared an article about the position on Twitter and wrote: “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman.”

 ‘I’ve seen some legal absurdities. But this tops it all and is dangerous’

The first three statements are the slogan of “the party” in the novel. The party runs a totalitarian regime which uses “newspeak” and “doublethink” to present a distorted reality to the population. 

The correspondence which has emerged is from Gary Ritchie, an assistant chief constable, to Kenny MacAskill, the former SNP justice secretary. It addressed how the force would deal with recording rapes once new gender laws, being proposed by the Scottish Govenment, take effect.

The SNP administration wants to allow people to “self-declare” their own gender, abandoning the current position which requires a medical diagnosis and stringent checks before a gender recognition certificate can be issued.

Mr Ritchie told Mr MacAskill, an MP who has since defected to Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, that a rapist could be recorded as a woman “where a person born male but who identifies as a female and does not have a full GRC [gender recognition certiciate]… commits rape”.

Mr MacAskill replied: “As a lawyer for 20 years and justice secretary for almost eight, I’ve seen some legal absurdities. But this tops it all and is dangerous.

“It’s physically impossible and is about dogma overriding common sense. Women prisoners are being harmed by this and vital crime statistics rendered useless.”

Under Scottish law, rape is defined as non-consensual penetration with a penis, so it could not be carried out by someone with female anatomy.

Ms Rowling has regularly been attacked by trans activists over her stance on gender issues. Last month, she vowed to continue speaking out despite receiving death threats after three actors staged a protest outside her Edinburgh home.

The author said that the pictures the protesters posted online were a deliberate attempt to reveal her address so others could target her with abuse.

‘She mocked an article in which women were described as ‘people who menstruate’

Ms Rowling said she had received “so many death threats I could paper the house with them” but warned her critics: “The best way to prove your movement isn’t a threat to women is to stop stalking, harassing and threatening us.”

She was criticised by trans activists last year after she mocked another article in which women were described as “people who menstruate”. Following a backlash, she explained that her interest in gender issues stemmed from her experience of abuse during her first marriage.

Stars of the Harry Potter film franchise, such as Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, have also criticised Ms Rowling for her comments. The author was not included in a recent 20th anniversary HBO television show to celebrate the first Harry Potter film, in what was widely seen as a snub.

Detective Superintendent Fil Capaldi, of Police Scotland, said: “The sex/gender identification of individuals who come into contact with the police will be based on how they present or how they self-declare, which is consistent with the values of the organisation.

“Police Scotland requires no evidence or certification as proof of biological sex or gender identity other than a person’s self-declaration, unless it is pertinent to any investigation with which they are linked.”

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