JK Rowling and Kirstie Allsopp clash on trans issues as presenter calls for ‘understanding’

Composite image of Kirstie Allsopp and JK Rowling

TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp has called for “listening and understanding” as she came head-to-head with JK Rowling during an online exchange about trans issues and the tone of the discourse around them.

Location, Location, Location and Channel 4 presenter Allsopp has publicly stood up for the dignity of trans people over the last year, previously defending trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who was enduring a wave of transphobic abuse after creating an advert with beer brand Bud Light. 

Despite explaining on Twitter/X that she doesn’t support puberty blockers for under-18s, or trans women accessing female rape centres, she has vociferously criticised those who attack trans people online and the general tone of the commentary around their lives.

In recent days, her views have brought her into conflict with JK Rowling, as Allsopp claimed people should be able to engage in “debate” around issues such as puberty blockers, while Rowling claimed that several so-called “gender-critical” people had been “attacked, vilified, and subject to discipline at work” for wanting to “debate” trans issues. 

In a Twitter/X thread containing over a dozen posts, Rowling cited people including James Esses, Allison Bailey and Kathleen Stock, telling Allsopp that “people like you who claim there’s never been any attempt to stifle debate are part of the reason this mess happened in the first place.”

After receiving numerous tweets from fans and supporters of Rowling, Kirstie Allsopp tweeted on Tuesday (16 April) that she believed “some middle ground where listening and understanding is possible” could be found.

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“I would have thought it was almost impossible to make me look like David in any circumstance, but the Goliath that is JKR and her followers might just manage it,” she wrote

A back-and-forth between Allsopp and Rowling began, with Rowling claiming she was not trying to “attack” the presenter “personally”.

“I certainly do take odds with people trying to rewrite history, though, as you did in saying airily that we’ve always been able to debate so-called gender affirming care for minors,” Rowling said, adding that she felt Allsopp was trying to “lecture” her on “etiquette around dinner party table talk”. 

Allsopp responded that she has “no interest in making this about me, or about you.”

“There are too many issues impacting today’s world which are scarily divisive,” she added.

Allsopp later outlined her own views on trans issues after an X user expressed their gratitude for her “speaking up”, but warned her against getting “sucked in” to online discourse around trans lives.

“Don’t worry, I learned such a lot from looking at the abuse hurled at Dylan Mulvaney”, replied Allsopp. “It was that that brought me into this debate, and in all that time my views haven’t changed.

Kirstie Allsopp
TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp. (Getty / Karollyne Videira Hubert)

“I have learned more, and I’m glad of that, but I’m also aware of the bigger political picture and how this is used by right wing groups to rally people to their cause, I’ve always been passionately pro choice & that extends across the board.”

However, Allsopp did go on to say that the place she “waivers” is on gender-affirming care that may leave people unable to conceive children – “cos mine are my greatest joy,” she said.

Meanwhile, Harry Potter author JK Rowling has become well-known for sharing her views on the trans community in recent years, an issue that has caused her to butt heads with several Harry Potter actors who have spoken out in support of trans people.

Her views became widely known in 2020, when Rowling retweeted an op-ed piece that discussed “people who menstruate”, taking issue with the inclusive language featured in the article. 

“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she wrote.

She has since shown further opposition to inclusive language, criticised the SNP’s new hate crime laws, and claimed she would “happily do two years” in jail instead of using a trans person’s pronouns.

JK Rowling claimed in a 2023 podcast, titled The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, that she “never set out to upset anyone” with her remarks about the trans community.