There could hardly be a greater demonstration of the authoritarianism and absurdity of the SNP’s hate-speech law than the fact it could well lead to the arrest of the author of Harry Potter. The new law has the potential to turn this mild-mannered, left-liberal children’s author into a criminal hate-speaker. Not because she is a racist or a homophobe or a transphobe. But because, as a feminist, she believes in the material reality of biological sex. Because she believes that men cannot become women. Because she believes women’s sex-based rights must be protected. Because she believes in scientific truth.

In Humza Yousaf’s Scotland, expressing the truth about biological sex can now constitute a criminal offence. The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 makes it illegal to ‘stir up hatred’ against certain protected groups, including transgender people. This is punishable by up to seven years in prison. Of course, to any sane observer, Rowling’s views are not hateful but factual – and she has expressed them in a reasonable manner, too. But in the upside-down world of trans activists, any suggestion that transwomen are not real women is considered an unutterable heresy. And it is clear that these activists have the ear of the Scottish authorities.

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