Discover more from The Distance
We Will Award Steve Wardlaw £1 Million For The Elusive 'Anti-Trans' J.K. Rowling Quote
He has assured us that it exists
It happened again. Someone in the UK popped off with a strong reaction to a column by a gender critical voice, in this case an article by journalist Hadley Freeman, based on what they thought they knew about author J.K. Rowling.
According to his Twitter bio, Steve Wardlaw is the chairman of an “LGBT-friendly insurer” called Emerald Life. He is a “part-time drag queen” and “trans ally” serving on the advisory board of Terrence Higgins Trust, which touts itself as the leading HIV and sexual health charity in Britain. Wardlaw also loves Latin dancing. Perhaps all this activity has prevented him from knowing what he is talking about.
Wardlaw has already deleted some of the tweets in this thread because he was quite incorrect. He has still left factual inaccuracies, in this case an allegation that Maya Forstater ever harassed her colleagues. No such event was ever established in her employment tribunal. Of course, then Mr. Wardlaw segued right into defamation of author J.K. Rowling.
The problem for people who hate J.K. Rowling is that none of her actual words are actually hateful. All of her sentences are indeed “innocuous,” even anodyne, and yet her views are still supposedly “anti-trans.”
It isn’t her words, you see, but her meaning of those words and the intent behind them.
She’s a wizard, Harry.
Wardlaw is accusing J.K. Rowling of witchcraft.
Her sinister thoughts imbue supernatural power to her otherwise-normal words, harming the trans people through etheric vibration.
Or: Wardlaw is just mad because Rowling said ‘no’ to the most demanding, insistent, blinkered agenda in the world, and got away with it.
As seen in the above image, I replied to Mr. Wardlaw offering a prize in American money for that elusive J.R. Rowling “anti-trans” quote. A million bucks for just one example of the thing he says exists. Three days have passed and there is still no answer.
After conferring with colleagues and the LGB United board, I am pleased to announce that The Distance is now offering a £1 million prize for this elusive citation. We are naming it for Steve Wardlaw.
We say that the much-ballyhooed quote does not exist.
We contend that Mr. Wardlaw, and the Dunning-Kruger chorus of progress flag-waving critics of Rowling who attribute “anti-trans” views to her perfectly reasonable statements, are all telling on themselves.
Rowling’s views are decidedly pro-woman. If pro-woman is “anti-trans,” then Mr. Wardlaw, and everyone ‘pro-trans,’ is anti-woman.
To win the Steve Wardlaw Prize™, an entrant must demonstrate that the cited statement by J.K. Rowling does not involve a rights conflict. That is, the cited statement must materially detract from the human rights of ‘transgender people’ without simultaneously arguing for the rights of another group, such as women, children, or people with faith traditions.
For example, Rowling has funded a rape crisis shelter for women in Scotland. Males are simply not allowed there, no matter how they ‘identify,’ because (Rowling argues) women have a right to heal from sexual trauma in a place that is physically free of males. Wardlaw is free to argue otherwise, but Rowling’s statements about it are clearly referring to a conflict of rights and therefore do not qualify for the prize.
Here are some fictional statements that would absolutely qualify for the £1 million Steve Wardlaw Prize™. To our knowledge, Rowling has not uttered anything like them. Which is ironic, since all of these things have actually been said about, or actually done to, people deemed guilty of transgender-related wrongthink:
‘Trans people are inherently dangerous to other people’
‘Trans people should be denied health care or other services’
‘Trans people should not be allowed to have bank accounts’
‘Trans people should not be free to speak their views in public’
‘Trans people should be fired from their jobs, have limited opportunities’
Rowling has discussed her views at length in a recent podcast. She has written an essay on her website. She has tweeted about her views and unlike Mr. Wardlaw, Rowling has never had to delete a tweet over factual inaccuracies. With such a wealth of sources, someone ought to be able to locate just one J.K. Rowling quote on the above lines, but no one has succeeded.
One proviso: we are not taking bets on the future, here. Rowling has been accused of making these sorts of statements already. If anyone can find Rowling saying anything like the above prior to the date of this post, they can claim the £1 million Steve Wardlaw Prize™ by contacting us. All entries are subject to an authentication process commensurate with findings of fact according to the laws of the United States, because that is where we live.
As mentioned at the beginning, Wardlaw was reacting to a piece by Hadley Freeman about an interview that she did not get to do. Sting, the musician, apparently wanted a different interviewer, since Freeman’s views are unacceptably TERFy.
Wardlaw thinks that this is fine. He thinks that women should be punished for their opinions. He does not realize yet that he and Sting are the ones completely out of step with broader public opinion. He does not think of himself as a woman-hater.
In his mind, Maya Forstater is guilty of harassing colleagues at work simply by having her unacceptable views. She did not have to voice them aloud in her workplace to be held responsible for them at work. Just having them was a crime.
Of course, British employment law begs to differ: the Forstater decision found that her opinions are “worthy of respect in a democratic society” and awarded her compensation. Her precedent is already empowering critics of gender ideology to push back all across the UK. Employers, services, and police departments have all exposed themselves to damage claims by following the fashion of the times and the bad advice of Stonewall.
J.K. Rowling was right. Maya Forstater was right. Hadley Freeman was right. Steve Wardlaw hates that they were right. He hates, hates, HATES them all for being right. He hates them so much that he has earned the right to have his name on this prize.
The £1 million Steve Wardlaw Prize™ is waiting.
The Distance is a reader-supported publication. Please like, share, subscribe, and consider a paid subscription to support our work