Loving @jk_rowling has always felt a little illicit.

When her Harry Potter series was first released in the 1990s, it was relentlessly attacked by religious zealots convinced that her fiction would convert a generation of young readers to the Occult.
Tucking into it for the first time as an elementary school student, I felt like I was taking a purposefully defiant stance against her naysayers. As a Christian school student, I had to hide her books away to avoid getting in trouble, but I consumed them hungrily regardless.
Fast forward twenty years and she's successfully pissed off an equally evangelical movement: the woke-scolds intent on doing away with the concept of biological sex and replacing it with the ineffable concept of gender identity.
She has been speaking out about this toxic subculture and the devastating impact it's having — and for her trouble, she's been relentlessly misrepresented in the media and attacked by narcissists who have less moral courage in their whole body than she has in her pinkie finger.
This week Amy Eileen Hamm and Chris Elston erected a billboard in Vancouver expressing a simple message of affection in thanks for her bravery and advocacy.
A similar poster was recently pulled in the UK, so they surely anticipated push-back — but it's still astonishing that noisy idiots were able to champion censorship and get it pulled within 24 hours.
This is just the latest example of activists trampling the concept of free speech and engaging in large-scale public misogyny, routinely tossing out their favourite woman-hating epithet: "TERF".
For some this may be the first time they've experienced the cult-like rhetoric and mobbing firsthand. People who dare to express solidarity with Rowling are shouted down as being hateful and exclusionary, and a local politician has even called for their workplaces to be targeted.
As Canadians, we need to stand together against this cultural bigotry — even when it's coming from the people closest to us.
As Rowling wrote in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, "it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."
I would argue that it's harder, actually, and the most painful moments since I've engaged with this topic last year have come when people I admire and love mistake my concern for women's rights and free speech as being transphobic.
But if people continue to shut up and self-censor, these bigots will never be held accountable for the damage their delusional worldview is wreaking on our society.
In her epic blog post detailing her emotional journey through this debate, Rowling wrote:
“The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women... to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is nonsense.”
I couldn't agree more. I keep coming back to the image of Dumbledore, surrounded on all sides by enemies, fighting through the swirling darkness to ensure that Harry can return to Hogwarts safely.
I feel like that small bespectacled boy in the presence of a great wizard when I read the wise, measured and compassionate words of J.K. Rowling.
"And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure."


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