JK Rowling hits out at David Tennant after he says trans critics are ‘whinging’

JK Rowling has hit out at Doctor Who star David Tennant after he said critics of trans issues were “whinging”.

The Scottish actor has already been embroiled in a row with political figures, after he suggested at the British LGBT Awards that equalities minister Kemi Badenoch should “shut up”.

The Harry Potter author appeared to suggest that 53-year-old Tennant was not concerned for women who would like to opt for “female-only” spaces in prisons, at work and in crisis centres.

Asked backstage at the awards for his message to trans youth, Tennant told an interviewer that they should not feel unloved or not accepted as “most people in the world don’t really care” about the issue.

JK Rowling smiles at the Harry Potter And The Cursed Child opening gala
JK Rowling has been vocal on trans issues in the past (Yui Mok/PA)

He added: “Everyone’s so self-obsessed that really, the sort of noise that comes from a certain area of the press and of the political class is… it’s a minority. It really is.

“And please don’t let that make you feel diminished or dissuaded or discouraged, because, you know, you have to be allowed to be yourself, and you are, and you are yourself and you must thrive and flourish, and we’re all here for you.”

Tennant also said: “It’s a tiny bunch of little whinging f****** (that) are on the wrong side of history and they’ll all go away soon.”

Scotland-based Rowling, 58, wrote: “This man is talking about rape survivors who want female-only care, the nurses currently suing their health trust for making them change in front of a man, girls and women losing sporting opportunities to males and female prisoners incarcerated with convicted sex offenders.”

There is a ban on trans women who have committed sexual offences from entering women’s prisons in England and Wales and there have been calls for law changes to make gender and sex more clearly defined.

A rapist, Isla Bryson, who identifies as a transgender woman, was sent to a Scottish women’s prison, Cornton Vale, causing a political scandal for the SNP, before later moving to the male prison estate.

Kemi Badenoch speaking at a lectern
Kemi Badenoch said she ‘will not be silenced’ (Lucy North/PA)

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said amending the definition of sex under the Equality Act could result in “greater legal clarity” around women-only spaces and access to sport.

Ms Badenoch has been vocal in calling for an amendment after asking the EHRC to consider the benefits or drawbacks of defining sex as “biological sex”.

During an acceptance speech at the awards last week, Tennant said: “If I’m honest, I’m a little depressed by the fact that acknowledging that everyone has the right to be who they want to be and live their life how they want to live it as long as they’re not hurting anyone else should merit any kind of special award or special mention because it’s common sense, isn’t it?

“It is human decency. We shouldn’t live in a world where that is worth remarking on.

“However, until we wake up and Kemi Badenoch doesn’t exist any more – I don’t wish ill of her, I just wish her to shut up – whilst we do live in this world, I am honoured to receive this.”

Conservatives Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ms Badenoch have been critical of Tennant’s remarks.

Ms Badenoch accused the actor of being a “rich, lefty, white male celebrity so blinded by ideology” in a post to social media website X.

She also wrote: “I will not shut up. I will not be silenced by men who prioritise applause from Stonewall over the safety of women and girls.”

Mr Sunak said: “Freedom of speech is the most powerful feature of our democracy.

“If you’re calling for women to shut up and wishing they didn’t exist, you are the problem.”

Tennant played the villainous character Barty Crouch Jr in the film Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire in 2005, based on the fourth book in Rowling’s popular series about a boy wizard.