JK Rowling is sending a feminist activist who heckled Nicola Sturgeon over her controversial plans to change gender law a crate of champagne.
Alexandra Darroch interrupted the First Minister during a speech on ending male violence against women in Edinburgh yesterday, accusing the SNP leader of ‘allowing paedophiles, sex offenders and rapists to self-ID in Scotland’.
Her outburst won the admiration of JK Rowling – a fierce critic of Ms Surgeon’s proposals to allow Scots to self-identify their legal gender – who vowed to send the activist ‘a crate of her favourite tipple’.
And Ms Darroch today revealed the Harry Potter author is making good on her promise, after pledging to give her a ‘crate of champagne’ or a box of ‘really nice wines’.
This is the moment Nicola Sturgeon is heckled by Alexandra Darroch as she gave a speech at a charity event promoting the end of male violence against women
The women’s rights charity worker told the Telegraph Ms Sturgeon’s radical plans were comparable to fascism and warned the legislation endangers single sex-spaces.
‘It’s got all the hallmarks even with the language, the compelled speech, suppression of speech, punishing women and police turning up at women’s homes,’ she said.
The Gender Recognition Reform Bill is set to remove the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria when seeking a gender recognition certificate.
It will also reduce the length of time an applicant must live in their acquired gender from two years to three months, with an additional three-month reflection period.
Defending the Bill earlier this week, Ms Sturgeon told Holyrood that violent men ‘do not need’ to legally change gender to access women-only spaces.
In its final stage and set to be enacted by Christmas, it aims to simplify the process by which a transgender person can switch gender through ‘self-identification’, and lowers the age limit of gender reform from 18 to 16.
Ms Darroch was filmed heckling the First Minister at the Zero Tolerance event in the Scottish capital last night, in which she shouted: ‘Shame on you.
‘You’ve fomented this culture in Scotland that basically tells women they are bigoted for standing up for women’s rights. I see you, and thousands of women around Scotland see you.
‘And those of you sitting here are complicit, keeping your mouths shut while women have actually been raped by males who have self ID-ed as women.
‘That’s got nothing to do with trans rights, I support trans rights and have done for three decades now and I will continue to.’
The First Minister’s plans have been met with significant opposition, not least from Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who has been a fierce critic, even wearing a ‘Nicola Sturgeon, destroyer of women’s rights’ t-shirt
Ms Sturgeon apologised to attendees following the outburst but insisted she did not want to silence criticism.
She added: ‘I do not seek to close down anybody’s freedom of speech. It is important that voices are heard.’
This is despite a note being sent to guests in advance of the event, urging them not to mention the controversial gender reform plans that critics say will hurt women.
It read: ‘We wish to create a safe and supported environment for all our guests and so have asked all participants to support us in this aim by refraining from discussions of the definition of a woman and single sex spaces in relation to the gender recognition act.’
Reacting to the footage on Twitter, JK Rowling, who has been a fierce critic of the First Minister, even wearing a ‘Nicola Sturgeon, destroyer of women’s rights’ t-shirt, hailed the activist and offered to buy her drinks.
She wrote: ‘Scenes. In spite of all careful precautions, the First Minister has been accidentally exposed to some freedom of speech. Heads will surely roll.
‘(If nobody’s yet sent that heckler a crate of whatever her favourite tipple is, do please send me her details).’
Ms Darroch said the novelist had come good on her promise, adding: ‘Some presents are coming my way from JK Rowling. We have not actually spoken in person but one day we may well because I think there is going to be more feminist events and we are not going to stop speaking.
‘If she sends that champagne I will give those bottles to the feminists, so if that’s the case, fantastic. I’m kind of hoping she hasn’t sent me some hot chocolate as I can buy that anytime.’
The Zero Tolerance event at Dovecot Studios was described as being ‘for those who are committed to ending men’s violence against women and girls but particularly for senior managers in government and national public bodies, elected representatives, local authority officials, civil servants, and senior managers and policy officers working in the third sector’.