Coverage of transphobic tweets and controversies J.K. Rowling has made

J.K. Rowling TERF Controversies

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Updated Jul 06, 2020 at 04:40AM EDT by andcallmeshirley.

Added Jun 08, 2020 at 11:12AM EDT by Adam.

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Overview

J.K. Rowling TERF Controversies refers to numerous incidents Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has had on Twitter wherein she either publically agreed with sentiments or shared commentary which critics have claimed are transphobic. The incidents have led critics to label her as a TERF though she does not ascribe to that label.

Background

J.K. Rowling first began drawing backlash for possibly being transphobic in March of 2018, when she liked a tweet by user @racybearhold[1] that read "I was shouted at by men at my first Labour Party meeting aged 18 because I asked them to remove a Page 3 calendar, I've been told to toughen up, be louder, stronger, independent. I've often not felt supported. Men in dresses get brocialist solidarity I never had. That's misogyny." Her spokesperson said the liking of the tweet was a mistake due to Rowling holding her phone awkwardly.[2]


Philip Ellis @Philip_Ellis Wingardium transphobia @jk_rowling ll EE ? 15:08 63% J.K. Rowling + 19.5K Likes Tweets Tweets & replies Media Likes Rachel @racybearhold 1d I was shouted at by men at my first Labour Party meeting aged 18 because I asked them to remove a Page 3 calendar. I've been told to toughen up, be louder, stronger, independent. I've often not felt supported. Men in dresses get brocialist solidarity I never had. That's misogyny! O 39 27137 1,165 11:12 AM Mar 21 2019 Twitter for iDh one >

Developments

In the following years, Rowling had several incidents on Twitter which sparked accusations of transphobia.

#IStandWithMaya Involvement

#IStandWithMaya is a hashtag campaign in support Maya Forstater, a woman who was fired from her job after she tweeted "Smart people I admire… are tying themselves in knots to avoid saying the truth that men cannot change into women (because that might hurt mens feelings).’ The campaign drew widespread attention when J.K. Rowling tweeted in support of Forstater on December 19th, 2019, writing, "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? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill."


J.K. Rowling @jk_rowling 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? #IStandWithMaya #ThislsNotADrill 7:57 AM · Dec 19, 2019 · Twitter Web App

Immediately after, the tweet was met with criticism by those who accused Rowling of supporting TERF ideology. Twitter user @notafootstool sent a series of tweets about her disappointment to read Rowling's statements as a trans person considering how important the Harry Potter books were to her as a child (shown below, left). User @MavenofMahem tweeted, "My daughter, who is trans, is a big fan of yours. It breaks my heart to see you post something indicating that discrimination against her is perfectly fine behaviour for an employee. The world’s most credible medical orgs affirm trans people. Please catch up."


Noel is entering peak holiday spirit @notafootstool Replying to @jk_rowling I grew up as a trans child reading your books as an escape. I would often pick out names from characters to give to myself, before I ever felt comfortable in who I was. This decision, to support people that hate me, and want to do me harm. It brings me to tears... Why. Why? 8:09 AM · Dec 19, 2019 · Twitter for Android 417 Retweets 8.1K Likes Noel is entering peak holiday spirit @notafootstool 3h Replying to @notafootstool and @jk_rowling When I was little, my dream was to one day ask you how people like me would have been accomodated for in hogwarts.. I'm afraid that my dreams might have been crushed if I ever got that chance. 27 68 53 3.1K Noel is entering peak holiday spirit @notafootstool 1h I say this because of the trans youth out there, kids that might have the same questions I used to have. What would you say to them? 27 10 18 733 Amanda Jetté Knox @MavenOfMayhem Replying to @jk_rowling My daughter, who is trans, is a big fan of yours. It breaks my heart to see you post something indicating that discrimination against her is perfectly fine behaviour for an employee. The world's most credible medical orgs affirm trans people. Please catch up. 8:17 AM · Dec 19, 2019 · Twitter for iPhone

Others made jokes about Rowling's behavior. User @_LJWR posted a joke saying Rowling was like noble Harry Potter character Professor McGonagall at the beginning of the decade, but is more like villainous character Professor Umbridge at the end of the decade, gaining over 640 retweets and 2,500 likes (shown below, left). User @gracepetrie posted a joke about Rowling using a picture of Baby Yoda, gaining over 480 retweets and 2,400 likes (shown below, right).


LJWR @_LJWR JK Rowling at JK Rowling at The start of The end of the vs. Decade The decade 10:43 AM · Dec 19, 2019 · Twitter for iPhone Grace Petrie @gracepetrie Everyone who has been pointing out JK Rowling's transphobia for several years logging onto Twitter today 11:09 AM · Dec 19, 2019 · Twitter for iPhone

Ickabog Fan Art and Transphobia Tweet

On May 29th, 2020, Rowling drew ire when she shared a little girl's fan art of the titular character of her children's book The Ickabog along with an unrelated sentence about a person saying they wanted to "fuck up some TERFs."


J.K. Rowling Follow @jk_rowling I love this truly fabulous Ickabog, with its bat ears, mismatched eyes, and terrifying bloodstained teeth! In court, Wolf claimed the Facebook post in which he'd said he wanted to 'f--- up some TERFS' was just 'bravado.' #Thelckabog Mike Kelland @Mkelland @jk_rowling here's my daughter's (9) Ikabog 8:15 AM - 29 May 2020

Rowling was quoting an article by Feminist Current[3] about Tara Wolf, a trans woman who was convicted of assault in England. The piece continually misgenders Wolf as a "trans-identified male." Rowling deleted the tweet after making the error, writing, "(Sorry about the random and totally unconnected sentence that made its way in there. I accidentally pasted in part of a very un-Ickaboggish message I'd just received 😳)."[4] After being chastised for the apparent transphobic literature she was reading, Rowling wrote, "However, I am not – as many of the people now swarming into my mentions seem to think – ashamed of reading about the assault. You should know by now that accusations of thought crime leave me cold. Take your censorship and authoritarianism elsewhere. They don't work on me."[5]

"People Who Menstruate" Headline

On June 6th, 2020, Rowling mocked an article on devex[6] titled, "Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate." Rowling tweeted the link to the piece, writing, "‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"[7] Rowling defended her comments over a series of tweets,[8] writing:

"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… The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is a nonsense. 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."


J.K. Rowling @jk_rowling 'People who menstruate.' l'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 devex.com/news/sponsored... Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for peop... What implications does COVID-19 have on the global menstrual health and hygiene agenda? WASH and health experts explain. @jk_rowling · Jun 6, 2020 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 J.K. Rowling @jk_rowling The idea that women like me, who've been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they're vulnerable the same way as women - ie, to male violence - 'hate' trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences - is a nonsense. 54.7K 7:09 PM - Jun 6, 2020

Responding to a user calling her a TERF, Rowling tweeted,[8] "‘Feminazi’, ‘TERF’, ‘bitch’, ‘witch’. Times change. Woman-hate is eternal." LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD[9] condemned her comments, writing, "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."


J.K. Rowling @jk_rowling 'Feminazi', 'TERF', 'bitch', 'witch'. Times change. Woman-hate is eternal. twitter.com/Scala_sin_E/st... Not Lucy Liu @Scala_sin_E Replying to @jk_rowling Takes one TERF to know another, I guess...? 48.5K 6:53 PM - Jun 6, 2020 GLAAD @glaad · Jun 6 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 105 27 8.4K 12.8K GLAAD @glaad 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. 8:07 PM · Jun 6, 2020 · Twitter Web App

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