The multimillionaire Harry Potter author said she was warned not to get involved in the controversy due to the backlash she would face.
However, she said she felt women were being ‘shut down’ and could not have lived with herself if she didn’t speak out.
She first aired her views in 2019 when she tweeted her backing for Maya Forstater, a tax expert who was sacked for tweeting that ‘men cannot become women’.
JK Rowling said she was warned not to get involved in the controversy due to the backlash she would face
A year later she explained her position in an essay in which she also revealed she had been victim of domestic violence and abuse in her first marriage.
Speaking on a new podcast, The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, the Edinburgh-based writer said: ‘I wanted to join the public conversation because I was watching women being shut down.
‘People are terrified of speaking up so I was really starting to feel this moral obligation. I knew what was coming.
‘There are other people who, if I’m honest, probably could speak and don’t want to speak.
‘They are not going to lose their livelihoods but there are a ton of women who are being forced not to speak because they literally won’t make rent.
‘I wanted to speak up and join the conversation earlier than I did. I was not held back, but there were people close to me who were begging me not to do it.
‘I think it was out of concern about what that would mean, they had watched what had happened to other public figures and there was certainly a feeling of ”This is not a wise thing to do, don’t do it”.’
Rowling, 57, told how she decided to speak out on behalf of other women who felt too scared to do the same and said she didn’t care if it led to a boycott of her books.
In 2020, Rowling wrote an essay explaining her views on gender issues. She also revealed she had been victim of domestic violence and abuse in her first marriage
She accepted she was ‘protected’ to a degree because of her wealth but said the issue was also very personal to her.
‘So I have this massive concern, I’m watching women being shut down and bullied, their employers being targeted by a movement that I see as authoritarian and illiberal,’ she said.
‘I absolutely can say that I was living in a state of real tension similar to when I’m planning to leave my ex-husband because, although I’m not physically in danger, I feel the right thing here is to try and force this conversation.
‘I am protected in ways I never dreamt I would be protected. I am also exposed to threats that other people are not exposed to but it’s more than that.
‘Whatever happens, if everyone decides ‘You’re an evil witch, we will never buy your books again,’ I can feed my family, my world doesn’t crash, my kids don’t go hungry.
‘There came a point where I felt obligated because the climate of fear was scaring me more than speaking out.
‘I reached a point where I thought ”I can’t keep living with myself if I don’t say something,” so it was personal as well, I have to speak.
‘Believe you me, I did not feel any sense of joy in that. I didn’t think ”I can’t wait for this, this is going to be amazing”.
‘I really thought ”This is going to be horrible but I’ve got to do it so I did”.’
Rowling told the podcast she has been subjected to death threats in recent years due to her comments.