J.K. Rowling spent recent days sailing around Iceland on her luxury yacht, Calypso, along with her husband, Neil Murray, and the couple’s daughter, Fréttablaðið reports. Rowling arrived in Reykjavík via private plane in late July and, since boarding her yacht, has made a number of stops at destinations such as Höfn, Nörðfjörður, Seyðisfjörður, Dalvík, Húsavík, and Akureyri.
The Harry Potter author even stopped in Hólmavík in the Westfjords this weekend to pay a visit to the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft.
However, in light of her frequently transphobic public statements on social media, Rowling’s visit to the country seems particularly ill-timed, coinciding as it does with Iceland’s Pride Month, a confluence which drew the ire of many on social media.
“Hey @jk_rowling if you stop by Reykjavík on your tour of Iceland be sure to hop on the best bus,” tweeted one Icelander with a picture of the Transvagninn, the Strætó bus celebrating trans people in Iceland.
“Rowling is in Iceland on the main day of Pride. This shouldn’t be allowed,” wrote another.
“Is there someone in Hólmavík who can make a ‘terfs not welcome’ sign and display it?” tweeted Pirate Party deputy MP Oktavía Hrund.
‘You have nothing to fear from people like me’
Prior to Rowling’s arrival in Iceland, trans activist, writer, and Trans Ísland chair Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, wrote an open letter to the author, which was published on gayiceland.is. The letter opened with a statement of solidarity with Rowling, a domestic abuse survivor.
“What I also really wanted to address, which is something that I strongly detect in your words and stance,” they wrote, “is that you have nothing to fear from people like me.”
“I am aware of all the amazing philanthropic work that you do,” Ugla Stefanía continued, “and all the wonderful projects you support with your charitable trust. In your essay that you released on your website, you said you were worried that ‘new trans activism’ would negatively impact your work.
I want to assure you that this is not the case, and I am sorry if you have been lead to believe otherwise. Transgender people certainly don’t have that power, nor do they wish to wield it.
The fight for an equal society regardless of your gender identity does in no way seek to erode such important work, but merely wishes for those who it impacts to be included in the conversation where appropriate.”
“Many of the arguments that I see put out there in the public domain are robbed of the human experience we all share” they conclude their letter. “If we were able to see that, even for a moment, I strongly believe we would find that all our fears, worries and concerns all stem from the same problem that we can fight together, to create a world where everyone is respected and loved exactly for who they are, regardless of gender, identity, physical characteristics or history.