Acclaimed author JK Rowling has voiced her willingness to be jailed if the United Kingdom makes it a hate crime to address someone with incorrect pronouns. In a conversation on platform X, Rowling stated:
“I’ll happily do two years if the alternative is compelled speech and forced denial of the reality and importance of sex.”
This statement came in response to a photograph of lighted letters outside the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice that read: “Repeat After Us: Trans Women Are Women,” to which Rowling responded with a “no” on an X post.
Stricter Penalties Under Labour Government
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 17, 2023
Under the Labour government in the United Kingdom, deliberately calling someone by incorrect pronouns could be deemed a hate crime, with a sterner penalty than what currently exists, as reported by the Daily Mail.
It’s already a hate crime in the country to deliberately misgender someone if the action is motivated by hostility towards the victim’s transgender identity, as clarified by the UK parliament last year. However, the reported Labour policy would take this penalty even further.
Anneliese Dodds, the Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, mentioned that the Labour Party would strengthen the law against hate crimes towards the LGBT+ community, in response to the Conservatives’ inability to handle such crimes.
Offenses driven by hatred of the victim’s gender identity could be regarded as “aggravated offenses,” a term previously used for assault and harassment driven by racial or religious hatred, which could result in prison sentences of up to two years.
Fox News Digital sought a statement from the British Labour Party on their future plans should they regain power in the next parliamentary elections, which must be held no later than January 2025.
Critics Argue Against Compelled Speech
Critics of such policies, including Rowling, argue this is compelled speech, as it would require them to use a transgender person’s preferred pronouns in violation of their personal beliefs.
Rowling also joked about how her time in prison would be, expressing hope to be in the library and her ability to handle chores in the kitchen, though she admitted she might have issues in the laundry due to her tendency to shrink clothes or turn them pink accidentally.
In a related case in March, a Christian street preacher in the UK, who was the first to be prosecuted and reported to a UK counterterrorism watchdog for allegedly misgendering a transgender person, won his appeal in court, challenging a UK law that empowers the police to arrest someone who causes “harassment, alarm or distress” to anyone nearby.
With information from Fox News