Writers and publishers pen open letter to show solidarity with trans and non-binary community

Writers and publishers pen open letter to show solidarity with trans and non-binary community

An open letter expressing “love and solidarity for the trans and non-binary community”, spearheaded by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (pictured) and Daisy Johnson, has garnered support from more than 200 writers, including Malorie Blackman, Jeanette Winterson and Joanne Harris.

Published days after a letter in the Times defending author J K Rowling from "hate speech" online signed by authors including Ian McEwan and Aminatta Forna, the open letter's signatories said they "recognise the vital role our industry has in advancing and supporting the wellbeing and rights of trans and non-binary people" and acknowledge "trans rights are human rights".

The letter is published on the website of The Second Shelf, a bookshop specialising in rediscovered works by women, and reads in full: "This is a message of love and solidarity for the trans and non-binary community. Culture is, and should always be, at the forefront of societal change, and as writers, editors, agents, journalists, and publishing professionals, we recognise the vital role our industry has in advancing and supporting the wellbeing and rights of trans and non-binary people. We stand with you, we hear you, we see you, we accept you, we love you. The world is better for having you in it.

"Non-binary lives are valid, trans women are women, trans men are men, trans rights are human rights."

Other writers lending their support included Juno Dawson, Sara Collins, Sharlene Teo, Patrick Ness, Okechukwu Nzelu, Guy Gunaratne, Max Porter, Irenosen Okojie, Mary Jean Chan, Anna James and Nikesh Shukla. Among publishers were Knights Of and Round Table Books co-founders David Stevens and Aimée Felone, marketer and co-founder of BAME in Publishing and Pride in Publishing Wei Ming Kam, Pride in Publishing's co-chair Nick Coveney, 2020 Rising Star Hamza Jahanzeb, Picador commissioning editor Kishani Widyaratna and Fitzcarraldo Editions publisher Jacques Testard, among many others, while literary agents, including Hellie Ogden, Emma Paterson and Sallyanne Sweeney, were also represented.

Hargrave commented on the letter that it was "an opportunity to share a message of love at a time of great antagonism and aggression".

She added that the letter had been set in motion prior to the letter defending Rowling against abuse online, which subsequently led to one of its signatories, Amanda Craig, being asked to stand down from her position as a competition judge for Mslexia