JK Rowling has challenged Police Scotland to arrest her after she publicly misgendered a number of transwomen.

The Harry Potter author's goading came as she ridiculed Scotland’s new hate crime law, saying it was “wide open to abuse by activists who wish to silence” gender critical feminists.

READ MORE: Third of Police Scotland officers have not yet had Hate Crime training

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021, which took effect today, consolidates some existing laws and creates a new offence of stirring up hatred against protected characteristics, including age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity.

It does not include sex. A separate misogyny law was promised by Humza Yousaf in his first programme for government, though it is yet to be published.

The First Minister has previously insisted that the protections for freedom of expression in the legislation means it will not be a criminal offence to say that a trans woman is a man.

However, speaking to the BBC, Siobhian Brown, the Minister for Victims and Community Safety, suggested it would be up to Police Scotland to judge whether or not it was a crime.

In a series of posts on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, Ms Rowling shared pictures of transwomen, including Isla Bryson, a double rapist previously known as Adam Graham who only began identifying as a woman after being charged.

The Edinburgh-based writer, tweeted: “Lovely Scottish lass and convicted double rapist Isla Bryson found her true authentic female self shortly before she was due to be sentenced. Misgendering is hate, so respect Isla’s pronouns, please.”

She also shared images of Amy George, also known as Andrew Miller, a Borders butcher who abducted an 11-year-old girl while dressed in female clothing and then sexually assaulted her and kept her captive for over 27 hours.

“No idea why this was mentioned in court – of course she was wearing women’s clothing, she's a woman!” Ms Rowling tweeted.

In another post, she mocked Mridul Wadhwa, the transwoman in charge of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, who caused controversy in 2021 by suggesting “bigoted” rape survivors should be re-educated about transgender rights as part of recovering from their trauma.

Ms Rowling tweeted: “She has no gender recognition certificate, but was still appointed to a job advertised for women only. Time to be ‘challenged on your prejudices’, rape victims!”

The writer then added: “Only kidding. Obviously, the people mentioned in the above tweets aren't women at all, but men, every last one of them.”

Ms Rowling said the new hate crime legislation was "wide open to abuse by activists who wish to silence those of us speaking out about the dangers of eliminating women's and girls’ single-sex spaces, the nonsense made of crime data if violent and sexual assaults committed by men are recorded as female crimes, the grotesque unfairness of allowing males to compete in female sports, the injustice of women’s jobs, honours and opportunities being taken by trans-identified men, and the reality and immutability of biological sex."

She added: “I'm currently out of the country, but if what I've written here qualifies as an offence under the terms of the new act, I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment.”

Her tweet ended with a hashtag reading "arrest me."

A Police Scotland spokesperson told The Herald they had "not received any complaints" about Ms Rowling's tweets.

READ MORE: Hate crime law could 'damage confidence in police'

Earlier in the day, during an interview with Radio 4's Today programme, Siobhian Brown was asked if misgendering someone could be a crime under the new legislation.

The SNP minister said: “It would be a police matter for them to assess what happens. It could be reported and it could be investigated — whether or not the police would think it was criminal is up to Police Scotland.”

The MSP added: “There is a very high threshold which is in the Act which would be up to Police Scotland, and what would have to be said online or in person would be threatening and abusive.”

Ms Rowling was reported to Northumbria police last month for misgendering transgender broadcaster India Willoughby. 

Speaking to media earlier Mr Yousaf said he was “very proud” of the new laws and “very confident in Police Scotland’s ability in order to implement this legislation in the way it should”.

The Herald:

Around 300 people gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to oppose the new legislation.

A coffin bearing a sign reading “We hate hate crime laws” was decorated with masks resembling SNP leader Mr Yousaf and co-leader of the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie.

Mark Leslie, an artist, told the Press Association: “People tend to think that if you are against this you want to be abusive. I’m not political, I’m not religious, but I think this law is ammunition for bigots. It’s freaky that records can be stored but they can’t even get crime done.

“The reason I’m here is the Scottish Enlightenment – the church and state should have no power over what people are allowed to say. This is the opposite of the Scottish Enlightenment.”

Sally Wainwright, from Scottish Lesbians, said she knew younger women who were afraid of losing their jobs because of having posted on social media about their desire to maintain female-only spaces.

Ms Wainwright said: “I’m a lesbian and I’m really concerned that our voices are never heard – this act will make it more difficult for us to speak. It completely interferes with freedom of speech."

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf unveils £30m spending to tackle waiting lists

Meanwhile, speaking to journalists in Drumchapel, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar was asked if he would repeal the new Act if he was to become First Minister. 

He said: "The biggest flaw in the Hate Crime Act is that misogyny was not included.

"That was an amendment that we had, sadly, an amendment that was voted down.

"It was something that we maintained throughout every stage and then in our manifesto as well that we would include misogyny in the Hate Crime Act.

"I think the biggest challenge is that what parliament intended, and what parliament passed is now flawed in terms of its implementation and its messaging.

"I think the government has messed up the implementation, they've messed up the message, and they haven't adequately resourced our police officers."

"The point I'm making is that I don't think this is an issue of repeal," he added.

"How do you correct the flaws or the missing pieces in the legislation? And how do you correct the implementation, the messaging and the resourcing of this legislation?"

Mr Sarwar said the government was "undermining goodwill from the public."

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Russell Findlay said JK Rowling spoke "for many women across Scotland who see Humza Yousaf’s hate crime law for what it is - another SNP attack on women’s rights, just as we saw with Nicola Sturgeon's gender self-ID legislation."

He added: “While gender self-ID has rightly been put in the bin, Yousaf's dangerous hate crime law should follow.”