Author J.K. Rowling is at it again, this time tweeting comments discriminating against the trans community.
The Harry Potter author was scrutinised on Saturday after she wrote a series of tweets that were less than favourable to Twitter users, who pointed out that the comments were transphobic. As the tweets gained traction and more and more people stared condemning them, media advocacy group GLAAD came forward to mention that there is no excuse for targeting trans people in 2020.
The debacle started when Rowling re-posted an article from Devex, a media platform for the global development community. The post was titled “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.” In reply to that, she tweeted, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
This, naturally, invited a host of comments from the LGBTQ community who pointed out that women are not the only beings who menstruate. Some Twitter users begged her to delete her account as well. “There are trans men and non-binary people who menstruate you absolute wilting head of lettuce,” said one user. People started wondering why someone like her would tweet such a thing, while one user called her a “colossal disappointment.” People called her “anti-trans” and “transphobic” as transgender people, non-binary people and gender-nonconforming people also menstruate.
Rowling, however, did not stop at that. She followed up that tweet by criticising 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 wrote. “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.”
After saying all this, she mentioned that she respects trans people’s right to live comfortably, but struck out at people calling her a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist).
“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,” she added.
Trans people have always been discriminated against in our world. Her writing “if” negates that notion, making it seem like it’s something that might or might not happen – which isn’t true.
This is where LGBTQ rights organisation GLAAD stepped in and responded to Rowling’s comments. They said that Rowling wilfully distorts facts about gender identity and trans people – there’s no excuse for that in 2020. They then went on to list several black trans organisations for people to make donations to.
Rowling has come under fire time and again for voicing such problematic viewpoints. In December, she had tweeted in support of a researcher who lost her job after saying that a person cannot change their biological sex. GLAAD had issued a statement in reply to Rowling’s tweet at that time as well.