Potterheads all over the world are now nursing their broken hearts and considering selling their Harry Potter book collection. Why? J.K. Rowling, the bestselling author behind the series, tweeted a few transphobic things over the weekend, and it ain’t pretty. Here’s what went down.
She said what now?
‘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
It all started when she commented on an article that used the phrase “people who menstruate” in the headline, taking issue with the fact that the writer didn’t simply use the word “women”. But gender identity is much more complicated than that.
As many commenters pointed out, not all women were born with female reproductive systems. There are also people who were born with vaginas but don’t consider themselves as women. And there are many cisgender women (cisgender = people whose gender identity corresponds with their sex at birth) who don’t menstruate due to health issues, medication, age, and other factors. Does the ability to menstruate really make a woman?
Maybe Rowling could’ve turned things around if she listened to the feedback, but instead, she doubled down:
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 seems to not know the difference between sex and gender (which is a topic for another article, so watch this video instead if you’re not sure about the video either). She went on to say that she respects trans people, but implied that she doesn’t consider transwomen female: “I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans,” she wrote. “At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female.”
Yes, transwomen have very different experiences to cisgendered women, but guess what? THEY’RE STILL WOMEN. It’s 2020. It’s Pride Month. Get with the program, girl.
The truth has been revealed
Jk Rowling literally described a trans woman via all of the transphobic tropes, big hands, Adams apple etc being forcefully outed as trans. And then still had the nerve to make a prison rape comment about her.
— drug addled Queen 👑 (@notCursedE) June 7, 2020
Rowling’s transphobia shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to folks who have read her other books. In here book The Silkworm (where she used the pen name Robert Galbraith), she described her trans character with dehumanizing stereotypes, and has the protagonist joking about her rape.
Was this necessary?
today on jk rowling is too dumb and why did we give her so much money: just, what the fuck is this response???
she couldn’t reply to the tweets calling out for the transphobe she is, but she sure took her time to go to this person’s page just to find something to make fun of pic.twitter.com/kuhmbkf6rv
— asexual anger (@psychokiwi_) June 6, 2020
She can reply to random tweets but can’t address her transphobia….
jk rowling made the asian person go by “cho chang” and and put her in the “nerdy” house, the only irish kid someone who liked to blow stuff up (ira), the goblins were a whole ass antisemitic trope, and she called hermione a m*latto. y’all should’ve let that woman go years ago.
— meghan markle’s anger translator ⁷ (@dianelyssa) June 7, 2020
Fans have also noticed the lack of diversity in the Harry Potter series. They pointed out that characters from minorities are stereotyped and left in the background. Also, we’ll never really get over the fact that she named the one East Asian character “Cho Chang”.
K-Pop Twitter, do your thing
Kpop Twitter, I know you can hear me. Please, I beg you, harness your powers to take down the transphobe that is JK Rowling. We need you, now more than ever
— Ellbat (@ElenaBateman) June 6, 2020
K-pop stans recently earned the respect of the internet for flooding a police “snitch” app with fancams. Now, netizens are calling the attention of K-Pop stans to help take down J.K. Rowling.
People are selling their collections now
For serious takers only. I’m really selling my harry potter boxed set
(6K na lang).
Books 1-2: good condition
Books 3-7:mint condition
Jk Rowling is a transphobe 🤮 pic.twitter.com/mqnKJz1tWa
— chubbaldy (@gooeymike) June 7, 2020
If you’re planning to buy the series, we suggest you think twice. Can you stomach the author’s views?
The series we all trust
While JK Rowling is trending on Twitter I’d like to take the time to mention how Percy Jackson is a better series and Rick Riordan isn’t a transphobe. pic.twitter.com/HGBwuBMfWr
— Reuben Foran (@ReubenForan2016) June 6, 2020
Why not read Percy Jackson instead? The series’ author Rick Riordan is definitely worth stanning. The author was actually quick to respond to Rowling’s very questionable tweets.
Rather than setting up a false dyad that isn’t constructive and makes me very uncomfortable, can we turn the attention to great #ownvoices trans/NB+ authors and buy their books instead? I’ll start. Sound off w/other recs! 🏳️🌈https://t.co/zbapqJtIpv pic.twitter.com/n9gYf3d2jo
— Rick Riordan (@rickriordan) June 7, 2020
Harry Potter himself responds
Okay, but before you go burning your Harry Potter collection, listen to Daniel Radcliffe.
“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe wrote in a response posted to the website of the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ-oriented nonprofit. “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… It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.
He then went on to encourage fans of the Harry Potter series, telling them that he hopes Rowling’s comments won’t ruin their love for the stories.
say it with me. daniel radcliffe is the author of harry potter. pic.twitter.com/bKdk5HOq2p
— ᴀɴɢᴇʟ⁷ (@angelnanguyen) June 9, 2020
“To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you. If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that 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; if 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. And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”
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