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Tom Daley on what he would say to JK Rowling about trans issues

"I’m not someone who likes conflict, but I have strong views and beliefs"

2021-04-12

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Instagram/TomDaley

Tom Daley has described what he'd say to Harry Potter author JK Rowling about her views on trans issues, given the chance.

Speaking in an interview with The Times, the Olympic diver said he's "not someone who likes conflict, but I have strong views and beliefs," including in support of trans people.

As such, when asked about Rowling's history of controversial tweets and comments on sex and gender, the star - married to Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black - gave a detailed answer.  

"I did love JK Rowling's books..."

"I did always love JK Rowling's books, but it does always leave a little bit of a..." he said, seemingly stopping short of saying 'bad taste'.

"The thing is, she stuck up for me in the past," he continued, referring to the time Rowling defended him from evangelical Christians on Twitter in 2016.

 
 
 
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(The incident involved a group called the Christian Voice responding to Tom failing to qualify for the 10m platform final by saying: "Turning gay doesn't seem to have done Tom Daley and favours at all." Rowling replied: "Can't decide which is more offensive in this tweet, the stupidity or the spite.")

Tom - who will be going for gold at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics - furthermore told The Times: "But then what she said about trans people… It’s one of the hardest things to understand, how trans people think and feel because she has never lived that experience, the same way white people trying to understand the black experience will never be able to understand that."

On what he would say to the literary icon, the dad to two-year-old Robert explained: "I guess it would be a conversation rather than a shouting match. I always try to listen first and try to understand, and then try to share my point of view and my opinions and show how things [said] can hurt other people, to try to get the best outcome.”

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