JK Rowling is once again in the news, having accused Humza Yousaf of “showing absolute contempt for women” after he said trans women would be covered by the Scottish Government’s new misogyny law.

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Today, however, one of our readers argues that the author has failed to understand the way the new legislation works.

Tim Hopkins of Edinburgh writes:

"JK Rowling has misunderstood the way hate crime legislation works. What makes a crime a hate crime is not the identity of the victim, but the motive of the perpetrator. If a heterosexual man is presumed to be gay and for that reason is assaulted in the street accompanied by homophobic abuse, that is a homophobic hate crime.

If the local shop is damaged with Islamophobic graffiti, that is a religious hate crime, regardless of the actual religion, if any, of the shop owners.

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If a woman is subject to a crime because she looks like she could be trans, that is a transphobic hate crime, whether or not she is actually trans.

In just the same way, under the proposed misogyny legislation, if someone is subjected to a crime because she is a woman or is presumed to be a woman, that will be a misogynistic crime. Those who don't accept that trans women are women are entitled to their own belief, but when it comes to determining the motive for a crime, it is what the perpetrator did and why that matters."