STAY alert! It’s not enough to protect yourself from the virus; dangerous thoughts are contagious too, and shielding yourself from them can be tricky. While you’re staying at home and saving lives you might also want to guard against exposure to blog posts by JK Rowling.

Pottermaniacs around the world are weeping and wailing, effing and blinding. C-list celebrities are seizing the opportunity to grab headlines. Happy childhoods have been retrospectively ruined.

What, you might ask, could the Harry Potter author possibly have written to prompt this outpouring? Has she announced another mammoth donation to Better Together, just as we’re desperately trying to distance ourselves from the shambolic state of affairs down south? Is she furloughing some staff rather than paying them golden Galleons from her own vault? Has she cast a spell on someone?

No. The indiscretion for which she must be punished is saying that sex is real.

That’s sex as in male and female, not as in the activity. What kind of body a person has, not what they might plan to do with it in a “social bubble” (an England-only social bubble, it should be stressed). Sex as in the real, observable, and immutable difference between men and women.

Fortunately for her own sanity, the woman who made up muggles and quidditch and death eaters knows the difference between things that are real and things that are the product of human imaginations. She knows that sex is determined by chromosomes whereas gender is a made-up set of rules about how men and women ought to be.

Unfortunately, she also knows what it’s like to experience both domestic abuse and sexual assault, which is one of several reasons why discussions about sex and gender are personally important to her. She, like so many women, has a very specific dog in the fight about who should be included in the definition of “woman”, and how laws and policies should protect women’s rights.

READ MORE: Harry Potter author JK Rowling criticised over ‘transphobic’ tweets

Other reasons include sex differences in healthcare (for example, in the effects of multiple sclerosis, from which Rowling’s mother suffered and into which she funds research) and her struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder as a teenager, of which she is reminded when she reads about girls attempting to “escape womanhood” by deciding to live as young men.

But I’ve already revealed too much, and you might not even be wearing a mask as you read this. To be on the safe side, you should apply a blindfold now.

Some people really don’t want you to know what JK Rowling’s blog post says. They’re worried it might give you the wrong ideas and, worse still, that you might irresponsibly spread them around. They want you to believe that even reading what she has written – as a woman, as a survivor, as a mother of daughters – will make you complicit in causing harm to people who believe in gender and insist that you believe in it too. They want you to think that by writing about her own fear of men she is scare-mongering about the marginalised minority of people who identify as transgender. They want you to believe someone with money, acclaim and global fame could not possibly still bear the scars from a time when she had no money, no book deal and nowhere safe to live.

The blog post has not come out of the blue. Thanks to a copy-and-paste blunder last weekend, the author last accidentally outed herself as the wrong kind of woman – one concerned about the potential impact of words like “woman” losing any objective meaning.

Regrettably, the blunder occurred when she was in the process of giving feedback on children’s artwork, and it involved tweeting not only a description of violence against a woman but the F-word to boot (the sweary one, I mean, although these days “feminism” is considered almost as obscene).

This was not the first time Rowling had been suspected of dabbling in the dark arts of what is tautologically known as “gender-critical feminism” (if your feminism isn’t critical of gender, you need to go back to square one). A representative previously declared she was being “clumsy and middle-aged” when she liked a tweet posted by a woman declaring that “men in dresses” were better supported by Labour party comrades than she had ever been, and attributing this to misogyny.

Rowling now says her mistake was publicly clicking like on that tweet instead of privately taking a screenshot. It’s a shame she opted to present herself as doddery and confused at the age of 54, as misogynists seldom need an excuse to declare any woman over 30 as hysterical and out-of-touch.

With Wednesday’s post she has made it crystal clear where she stands. Yesterday’s headlines focused on the disclosures she has made about her personal experiences, not her challenge to the Scottish Government to reconsider its plans to reform the law around gender recognition. Those who stick to secondary sources will have read about the darkest parts of the author’s life, but will likely have little grasp of why she has decided to write about them now.

Those in the outraged online echo chambers might try their best to drown out voices who want to talk about sex, but telling people not to read the world’s most famous author feels like a losing strategy. This discussion cannot be ignored. We cannot vaccinate women and girls against male violence, so we have a duty to listen to survivors.