JK Rowling, the one who penned down the Harry Potter universe, is facing sharp criticism over her transphobic statements. There was global outrage over the weekend, when Ms Rowling commented on the article which used the phrase “those who menstruate”. Read on for the full story.
Recently, Devex published a detailed article about why menstrual health and hygiene should be a top priority during the pandemic. This article also explains how to bring about changes to support the same. However, Rowling tweeted her transphobic two cents regarding this article.
“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?,” she tweeted tagging the article.
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Her tweets are seen as “anti-trans”, and she immediately tried to quell the anger and outrage caused on social media.
“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so,” Rowling tweeted on June 7th.
She also tweeted, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. 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.”
If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. 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.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Rowling’s tweets hurt many Harry Potter fans:
Rowling’s words disappointed and upset a large number of people including the Harry Potter fans, as a result. They tweeted their disapproval and asked the masses to contribute to a group which works tirelessly for the trans people.
Ofcourse some supported Rowling’s transphobic tweets claiming them as women empowering and what not. However, a large number of Twitter users criticised the author’s remark as “transphobic” and “anti-trans”. They especially argued that it’s not only straight, cis-gendered women who experience menstruation.
“What happens when women enter menopause?” a Twitter user asked. “What about women who had hysterectomies? Women who don’t menstruate because of hormonal issues? Are they not women? Nothing you say stops trans women from being women.”
What happens when women enter menopause? What about women who had hysterectomies? Women who don't menstruate because of hormonal issues? Are they not women?
Nothing you say stops trans women from being women.
— findom earle (@coherentstates) June 6, 2020
There are many people, like me, who sought Harry Potter as an escape from our tormented realities. I’ve personally lost count of the number of times I re read the whole saga, just to relive that magic. Her tweets have disappointed me, and many people who basically adore the Boy Who Lived universe.
A fan – who similarly found a helping hand through this saga – said these books helped her stay alive up until she met her husband. Furthermore, she went on saying that this person, “helped me learn to love myself and to want to live,” before ending with: “You just insulted him to my face. I hate you.”
I decided not to kill myself because I wanted to know how Harry's story ended. For a long time, that was all that kept me alive. Until I met my husband who helped me learn to love myself and to want to live. You just insulted him to my face. I hate you.
— Kate Beetle 🏳️🌈 (@scary_library) June 6, 2020
Daniel Radcliffe voiced his opinions:
“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe said. “Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”
Based on the stats produced by The Trevor Project, Radcliffe wrote that “78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity.” He even shared links of resources, that will help transgender and non-binary youth allies become better – for interested candidates.
Radcliffe concluded his piece by apologising to fans regarding the author’s remarks. Especially, if the tweets negatively impacted how people associate with the Harry Potter world.
“If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; that taught strength is found in diversity, and dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; or you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred,” Radcliffe wrote.
Rowling is yet to reply to Radcliffe.
Other celebs and LGBTQ empowering platforms have responded as well:
Mary Lambert, a singer and songwriter tweeted: “What the actual fuck??? This is so disgraceful, @jk_rowling. Of all the hills to die on, and for what reason? Trans women are women and they are fighting for their lives. When you push this trans exclusionary agenda, you make their lives infinitely more difficult. Shame on you.”
If you want to direct your rightful anger over JK Rowling's latest anti-trans comments into something positive, support orgs that help Black trans people like @MPJInstitute, @blacktransusa, @TransJusticeFP, @Genderintell and @ukblackpride
— GLAAD (@glaad) June 7, 2020
GLAAD is a dedicated organisation for LGBTQ equality. They said that whoever want to direct “rightful anger over Rowling’s latest anti-trans comments” must transfer the same into something positive. GLAAD suggested people to support National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, UK Black Pride, Gendered Intelligence, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and many such black organisations.
Furthermore they also said, “JK Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans. In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people.”
It is truly heartbreaking, when personalities like Rowling have the capacity to influence millions make statements like these. The world is already a hard place for many transgenders and LGBTQ people. Taking one’s own opinions to social media is not helping matters. Especially celebs who support such wrong notions and ideologies, are contributing to worsening things. It’s high time they realize this and stop stirring up controversial situations, just to stay in the news.