Ridicule for the school that axed JK Rowling for Kelly Holmes, an Olympic champion who has sparked controversy on trans issues
- Boswells School ditched JK Rowling as house name for Olympian Kelly Holmes
- Students and staff complained about her mocking term ‘people who menstruate’
- It has now emerged that Dame Kelly tackled a similar issue two years ago
An academy that ‘cancelled’ JK Rowling as a house name because of her comments on trans issues was ridiculed yesterday after it emerged her high-profile replacement has also spoken out on the subject.
The Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex, ditched the Harry Potter author for Olympic hero Dame Kelly Holmes after staff and students complained about her mocking the use of ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’.
But it has now emerged double gold medallist Dame Kelly tackled a similar issue two years ago when she warned about growing anger over transgender athletes competing in sports events.
The Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex, ditched the Harry Potter author for Olympic hero Dame Kelly Holmes
The former middle-distance runner appeared to show solidarity towards her under-fire predecessor yesterday by describing her as a ‘brilliant, world-renowned author’.
Her April 2019 tweet, posted during the South African Athletics Championships, said ‘have a trans category if need be but even better a trans games’ to avoid a ‘backlash and abuse… from spectators’.
The Boswells School was lambasted online over the switch in role models, with one person commenting: ‘Seems like a weird decision given that Holmes has publicly stated the same views previously anyway.’
Another said: ‘Cancel culture at its finest. Utterly moronic and once again we see women’s rights being eroded.’
Dame Kelly, 51, who was not asked in advance about having a house named after her, said last night: ‘I am always honoured when a school names a house after me… I hope my name represents determination, strength in adversity and a never-give-up attitude.’
But she added: ‘JK Rowling is a brilliant, world-renowned author and should be credited for all the good she has done in the literature world to help young people in particular have vision, creativity, dreams and much more.
The academy ‘cancelled’ JK Rowling as house name after staff and students complained about her mocking the use of ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’
The Boswells School was lambasted online over the switch in role models, with one person commenting: ‘Seems like a weird decision given that Holmes has publicly stated the same views previously anyway’
However, it’s also nice for a school to have a more diverse range of people that inspires children to be who they want to.’
Miss Rowling, 56, was hailed as a ‘much-loved’ author when the secondary school adopted her as the figurehead of one of its six houses.
But it announced plans to jettison her in July after she waded into the trans debate.
Dame Kelly was chosen after staff picked a shortlist of names and the whole school voted on the replacement. But parents have criticised the move, with one describing it as an attack on freedom of speech.
Miss Rowling has defended her comments, explaining she believed there were ‘innumerable gender identities’ but that using sex and gender interchangeably ‘obscures the central issue of this debate’.
Last night a staff member at The Boswells, which has 1,500 pupils aged 11 to 18, said: ‘The school won’t be commenting.’
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