J.K. Rowling Under Fire for Transphobic Remarks on Twitter

Renowned author of the world-famous Harry Potter book series, J. K. Rowling sparked yet another controversy on Twitter following her anti-trans tweets and statements.  The author responded to an op-ed titled ‘Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate’ by writing ‘‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’ to her 14.5 million followers on Twitter. Trans activists and allies on the platform criticized Rowling’s claims and statements that basically meant menstruation is a fundamental quality of a woman, thereby excluding transgender and non-binary individuals.

 

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020

Tweet via J.K. Rowling on Twitter

Twitter users called Rowling out on her transphobia, terming her as a TERF (Trans-exclusionary radical feminist – a radical, cisgender feminist who denies the womanhood and rights of transgender women). One user wrote: “I know you know this because you have been told over and over and over again, but transgender men can menstruate. Non-binary people menstruate. I, a 37-year-old woman with a uterus, have not menstruated in a decade. Women are not defined by their periods.”

 

 

As followers continued to retort her remark, Rowling stood by her statement on a separate thread, “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.” Her follow-up tweet, according to some users, rejected the existence of intersex and non-binary people as she appears to establish sex into the dichotomy of Male and Female.

 

 

Rowling then wrote a lengthy blog post explaining she has “five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism”, for which she decided to speak up. She mentions her charity for children and women, being an ex-teacher, her right to freedom of speech despite being a banned author, her concerns about ‘young women wishing to transition, and the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning’, and her traumatic experience as a sexual assault victim.

She addresses her belief that young people transition giving into the fads of gender dysmorphia ‘after realizing they were same-sex attracted, and that transitioning was partly driven by homophobia, either in society or in their families’, and later on detransition – which researchers report as misconceptions. Rowling further expresses her concerns for the safety of biological women/girls from ‘any man who believes or feels he’s a woman’.

In 2019, Rowling incited a similar anti-trans dispute by siding with a researcher who lost her job due to offensive statements on twitter such as – “men cannot change into women.”  To which she tweeted: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”

 

 

LGBTQI+ activists, allies as well as Members of the Harry Potter franchise movies commented on their platform. Daniel Radcliffe who played Harry Potter wrote, “It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Cosmopolitan and Tax Justice Network.

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A Mass Media graduate from Mumbai University with a freelance background in Content Writing and Photography. Currently working as a Writer at The Ticket Fairy. (She/Her)

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