J.K. Rowling’s Lit Agency Wouldn’t Affirm Trans Rights, So Four Authors Quit
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After J.K. Rowling released a transphobic screed earlier this month. Several trans writers, represented by the same literary agency, The Blair Partnership, asked the company to reaffirm its support for the trans community and its commitment to trans equality. The company apparently refused - so they go.
In a joint statement, the authors Fox Fisher, Drew Davies and Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir said after private conversations: "We felt that they could not commit to measures that we considered appropriate and sensible." Per The Guardian, Another author who wishes to remain anonymous has also vowed to leave The Blair Partnership as a customer.
"This decision is not taken lightly, and we are sad and disappointed with it," the statement said in part, adding later: "Freedom of expression can only be preserved if the structural inequalities that hinder equal opportunities for underrepresented groups exist challenged and changed. "
"We are in solidarity with LGBTQIA employees - and allied employees in all areas of the publishing industry - who work incredibly hard to work for different voices and experiences to question the homogeneity of the industry," it continues. “But the issues of inequality and oppression are far-reaching, from racism to ability awareness to sexism. Agencies and publishers must create platforms for underrepresented groups from scratch and make significant changes in their culture. The representation must extend to a real and authentic representation of different voices. "
The authors also said they donated to Shakti Women’s Aid, a Scottish charity that supports colored women who have experienced domestic abuse.
Earlier this month, Rowling fired several transphobic tweets that landed them in hot water on social media. She followed this tweetstorm with a long blog post, revealing that she was a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, but used that background to spread exposed myths claiming trans people were dangerous to them Women in private spaces such as bathrooms.
Jónsdóttir told The Guardian that, according to Rowling's blog post The Blair Partnership, they asked to make a public statement in support of trans gender equality, and that they also suggested that employees of the All About Trans group - a company with which they work together - to train as consultants. But these requests, Jónsdóttir said of the publication, "have not been well received by management."
The Blair partnership responded to the departures with a statement of its own: "We support the right of all our customers to express their thoughts and beliefs, and we believe in freedom of speech," the company said. “Publishing and creative arts depend on these things. It is our duty as an agency to support all of our clients in this fundamental freedom, and we do not comment on their individual views.
“We are disappointed with the decision that four customers have separated from the agency. To repeat it again, we believe in freedom of speech for everyone; These customers decided to leave because we were unable to meet their re-training demands. We respect their right to pursue what they believe is the right course of action.
“We appreciate all the voices of our authors and are committed to being an agency for equality and inclusiveness. We continue to strive to make the agency an inviting environment for everyone. The diversity of our customers' voices is our strength and we are very proud of everyone. "
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