HARRY Potter author JK Rowling made a rare public appearance to speak at a women’s rights conference branded “transphobic” by campaigners.

Rumours had suggested that Rowling was due to appear at the FiLiA conference held in Glasgow over the weekend, and the writer turned up to a panel event on Sunday.

Speaking alongside writers Julie Bindel and Claire Heuchan, who is also a trustee of FiLiA, Rowling told attendees at the conference that she had spoken out on trans rights issues because she did not need to worry about money.

The Telegraph reported that Rowling, who is worth around £875 million according to the Sunday Times Rich List, said: "I will always be able to feed my family.

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“I’ve looked around and realised that it has to be someone who can take the hit. And it has to be me. I can afford it."

The FiLiA event had more than 1400 women from across the world signed up to attend, according to organisers.

Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls who made headlines after intervening in the debate around Scottish Government gender reforms, was among those at the conference.

However, the FiLiA event faced controversy as around 70 protesters demonstrated outside the Platform venue in Glasgow on the first day, claiming it was “transphobic”.

Speakers including Bindel have faced such accusations for insisting that a woman is defined by biological sex and not gender identity.

But speaking alongside Bindel, Rowling (below) said: “This has never been about trans rights.”

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She went on: “This is about women’s rights and activists' demands to dismantle those rights.

“I have nothing but profound sympathy for trans women who have experienced male violence.

“I want trans people to be safe. I just don’t want women and girls to be any less safe.”

Reports suggested that Rowling’s appearance had been kept quiet ahead of time in order to avoid large trans rights demonstrations against her.

The Platform venue had looked to cancel the FiLiA event just hours before it was due to start after pressure from trans rights campaigners, organisers claimed. However, it was forced to U-turn after a threat of legal action

Rowling had previously taken aim at the FiLiA protesters on social media, sharing a short clip of activists singing the chorus of Lily Allen’s song “F*** you”.

The trans rights activists outside the FiLiA event on Friday morning had been playing music and singing as part of their demonstration. A brief seven-second clip showed them singing Allen’s lyrics: “F*ck you, f*ck you very, very much.”

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Rowling had written: “Inside the venue: women from 35 different countries discuss their sex-based issues and concerns, including the harassment and intimidation they face from men.

“Outside the venue, this pr*ck.”

In a statement also on social media, the accused activist said the video had been “clipped … to make it look like I’m shouting abuse at women”.

They said the song had been aimed at the “terfs [trans-exclusionary radical feminists], bigots and fascists attending FiLiA”.

After the event, Rowling also wrote on social media to thank the organisers of the FiLiA event.

She wrote: “Thank you to @FiLiA_charity and all your wonderful volunteers, thank you to my fabulous co-speakers, @bindelj and @ClaireShrugged, thank you, Claire, for my bracelet, and thank you to everyone who came to hear us.

“We talked, we laughed and I (bloody) cried.”

On Friday, Bailie Elaine Gallagher, a Glasgow City councillor who was present at the trans rights protest, told The National that she was in “agreement with many of the principles and work of the FiLiA conference”.

However, she went on: “Many of the speakers have historically had very anti-trans positions. FiLiA itself supports a definition of women’s sex-based rights that is transphobic by definition.

“I would like them to drop this insistence that trans rights are in conflict with women's rights and drop their opposition to self-identification because a lot of the kind of topics being discussed in there are very valid, like violence against women."