Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie thinks JK Rowling’s anti-trans essay was ‘a perfectly reasonable piece’

JK Rowling Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Acclaimed feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie thinks JK Rowling’s explosive anti-trans essay was “a perfectly reasonable piece”.

In a lengthy essay, posted to her own website in June, the Harry Potter author attempted to explain her involvement in the anti-trans “gender critical” movement by claiming that she might have transitioned if she was a teenager today.

Rowling also conflated being trans with mental illness, and claimed that trans men are only trans because of the “allure of escaping womanhood”.

Adichie, author of modern-day classics such as Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, has thrown her weight behind Rowling, insisting that the author “believes in diversity”.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie insisted that JK Rowling ‘believes in diversity’.

Chimamanda Negozi Adichie told The Guardian that she was interested in “all the noise” Rowling’s essay created, and insisted that the article was “a perfectly reasonable piece”.

“Again JK Rowling is a woman who is progressive, who clearly stands for and believes in diversity,” Adichie said.

The author blamed social media for the backlash, branding it “cruel and sad”.

“And in terms of ideas, it is fundamentally uninteresting,” she said. “The orthodoxy, the idea that you are supposed to mouth the words, it is so boring. In general, human beings are emotionally intelligent enough to know when something is coming from a bad place.”

Adichie also reflected on the backlash she faced when she made her own views on trans people’s identities public in 2017.

During an appearance on Channel 4 News, Adichie was asked if “trans women are women”, to which she replied: “Trans women are trans women.” 

She went on to claim that trans women could not be placed in the same category as cisgender women because, she argued, they had experienced male privilege.

Adichie later refused to apologise for the comments, saying: “Of course [trans women] are women, but in talking about feminism and gender and all of that, it’s important for us to acknowledge the differences in experiences of gender. That’s really what my point is.”

The Purple Hibiscus writer hit out at ‘self-censorship’.

Speaking to The Guardian about the furore, Adichie said: “There’s a sense in which you aren’t allowed to learn and grow. Also forgiveness is out of the question. I find it so lacking in compassion.

“How much of our wonderfully complex human selves are we losing?” she added.

“I think in America the worst kind of censorship is self-censorship, and it is something America is exporting to every part of the world.

“We have to be so careful: you said the wrong word you must be crucified immediately.”

Rowling has faced strident backlash from many within the arts community, with more than 1,800 high-profile literary figures recently signing an open letter pledging their support for trans and non-binary people.

The letter, signed by writers such as Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman, did not directly address Rowling’s comments, but was initiated by author Maureen Johnson over “transphobia in the publicising discourse and community”.

One of the writers who signed the letter was feminist icon Roxane Gay, who later criticised Rowling for trying to turn her explosive views on trans people into a “grand statement on gender”.