Harry Potter may very well be one of the most popular series of all time, but every now and then, the author, J.K. Rowling, disappoints her many fans by expressing some less-than-stellar viewpoints on Twitter. This happened once again over the weekend, with the author kicking off Pride Month by firing off some transphobic commentary.
Rowling’s most recent controversy began when she commented on an article from Devex titled, “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”
She tweeted in response, reposting the article, writing, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Her followers on Twitter were quick to call out Rowling’s condescending comments as “transphobic” since transgender people, non-binary people and gender-nonconforming people can also menstruate. Instead of being educated by her fans, J.K. followed up that tweet by doubling down on her original thought and further criticizing the idea that someone’s biological sense isn’t real.
“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,” she tweeted. “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.”
She went on to say, “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 has already been criticized for making similar comments before. At the tail end of last year, she received backlash for supporting a researcher who lost her job after saying a person cannot change their biological sex. Here are some responses to Rowling’s tweets that demonstrate why her comments are transphobic and problematic: