J K Rowling and the Twitter Transphobia

Posted on 8 June 2020
By Dana Andersen
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Whether she’s telling us Dumbledore was definitely gay, despite there being no plausible hint at any point in the books or movies, or letting us know that before the days of toilets, wizards and witches would just defecate where they stood, and vanish it away, J K Rowling always seems to have something to say. Unfortunately, all too often, she decides to say things that are heavily transphobic.

Over the last few years the writer has come under fire many times for being a TERF, or trans exclusionary radical feminist, essentially picking and choosing which women she wants to support, based on her own score card of who gets to count as a ‘real’ woman.

Her most recent misfire has come from Twitter, the place our favourite celebrities go to reveal themselves as problematic. On June 6th, the author tweeted saying ‘’People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’, in regard to an article titled ‘Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate’.

She of course came under immediate fire, because the vast majority of people are now aware that it’s not only women who are able menstruate. Following the backlash, she tweeted several more heavily transphobic tweets, in an attempt to further explain herself. This included ‘If sex isn’t real, theres no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.’

Is now a good time to point out that we know her as J K Rowling, because she and her publishers decided a more masculine sounding name, would sell better? Or how about her pen name of Robert Galbraith? You’d be forgiven for thinking, someone who cares so much about women being ‘erased’, may want to write under their own, female, name.

It’s not the first time Rowling has used Twitter as a place to display her transphobia, and it’s not only followers who are angry and disappointed in the writer. Katie Leung, known as Cho Chang from the Harry Potter movies, also took to twitter. ‘So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes… (thread)’ the actress tweeted. Many expected an insight on the character, now seen as very tokenised due to being one of the very few none white characters in the series, and essentially being there just to date Cedric, and Harry.

Instead of the expected character assessment though, Leung followed up with a thread containing pro-trans organisations, funds, and petitions, concluding with ‘#AsiansForBlackLives.’. Without even mentioning the writer, she made sure her fans are fully aware she supports trans people, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

J K Rowling has also been very quiet about the Black Lives Matter movement, which many fans on social media have noticed, and mentioned. Not only that, but she’s decided to begin tweeting transphobic statements again, during pride month. Not a good look.

With how many people have taken solace, and comfort, from the world of Harry Potter over the years, its understandable that fans are upset by the ignorance displayed by a writer, who spent years writing books to give us the message that we should accept people, and stand up for whats right. At least we’re seeing acceptance, and understanding, from Katie Leung.

Fans can only hope that Rowling may eventually choose to educate herself, or perhaps finally write a new book, rather than just pull a rewritten one down from her attic, when she realises its been a while since her last release.