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Saturday, 19th September 2020

A Complete Breakdown Of J.K. Rowling’s Transgender Comments Controversy

By Pragya Gouhari -
  • Updated
  • :
  • 16th September 2020,
  • 11:33 AM

The Harry Potter author is being criticized for comments she made about the trans community.

Harry Potter author J.K Rowling lands in hot soup over her comments on transgender community.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling came under fire in early June for controversial tweets she posted about the transgender community. Her stance has caused fans and stars like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redmayne to speak out against her. Now, in September, things just keep getting worse.

On June 6, Rowling retweeted an op-ed piece that discussed “people who menstruate,” apparently taking issue with the fact that the story did not use the word women. “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?,” she wrote.

That initial tweet garnered a lot of backlash, but Rowling did not relent and wrote about her views in more detail. “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—i.e., to male violence—‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences—is a nonsense.”

She continued, “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.”

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J.K Rowling Receives Backlash From Fans

Rowling’s initial tweets and her subsequent doubling down have drawn a lot of ire from trans activists and fans of Harry Potter, many of whom found comfort in the story of an outsider finding a place where he belonged.

Celebrity And Industry Response

Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter himself, was the first star from the franchise to release a statement (via the Trevor Project) about Rowling’s comments. “I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself,” he said, “but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now. While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment. Transgender women are women.”

“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. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. 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 continued, “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…. 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.”

Watson, who played Hermione Granger, also spoke out in support of the trans community.

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