J.K. Rowling is best known for writing the beloved, hugely impactful, and wildly successful Harry Potter series. Her secondary claim to fame is her often controversial Twitter account that has recently received a great deal of heat.
Rowling Has a History of Posting Controversial Tweets
In December 2019, Rowling took to Twitter to show her support for Maya Forstater, a tax professional from the United Kingdom who was fired for tweeting about her opposition to the British government’s plans to make gender changes legal. Rowling tweeted a strong defense of Maya’s position and then, after receiving much criticism for her statement, took a month-long hiatus from the social media platform.
Upon her return, Rowling offered no further comments and didn’t respond to the numerous angry tweets requesting apologies and clarification. Forstater did speak out, saying that, despite her stance on laws regarding transgender people, she, like Rowling is not anti-trans. “The idea that ‘sex is real,’ that human beings are male or female and that sex cannot be changed, is at the core of my current court case,” she wrote.
Forstater’s aim — like that of Rowling’s — isn’t to oppress those who opt for sex changes, but to ensure that women aren’t negatively impacted by laws that would afford biological men access to job opportunities, athletic competitions, and public spaces formerly reserved for women.
Rowling’s Recent Tweets about Transgender People Cause Backlash
On June 6, after months of benign activity on Twitter, Rowling retweeted an op-ed entitled, “Creating a More Equal Post-Covid-19 World for People Who Menstruate,” and quipped, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
A storm quickly erupted as fans once again labeled the author as prejudiced and transphobic. She responded with a second tweet that clarified her viewpoint and rejected the accusations that she is anti-trans. Her belief is that men and women are biologically different and to negate that truth would be severely detrimental to women.
Harry Potter cast members publicly disagree with Rowling.
Despite this, she has been lambasted by many — including several stars of her films. Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, wrote a blog post for The Trevor Project (an organization that provides crisis intervention services to LGBTQ youth). “Transgender women are women,” he wrote. He apologized to fans of the Harry Potter series, adding, “I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you.”
Katie Leung, best known for her role as Cho Chang, tweeted clickbait about her Harry Potter character and then linked to several fundraisers for organizations that promote the safety of black transgender people.
Eddie Redmayne, star of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, voiced his dissent from Rowling’s beliefs. “I disagree with Jo’s comments,” he stated. “Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid.”
Rowling Receives Hate for Speaking the Truth
Were Rowling’s tweets actually false and hateful as so many have claimed? If you believe in the veracity of scientific fact, then the answer is a resounding “no.” Colin Wright, who holds a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, wrote an extensive piece that provides scientific backing for Rowling’s views. He disproves the sex-spectrum model, writing, “There are no intermediate gametes, which is why there is no spectrum of sex. Biological sex in humans is a binary system.”
There are no intermediate gametes, which is why there is no spectrum of sex. Biological sex in humans is a binary system.
Dr. Wright then exposes the dangers of the acceptance of such a model: “If the idea of biological sex can be overturned in the domain of athletic competition, where differences between male and female are abundantly obvious, then the battle to push back sex-spectrum pseudoscience in every other area will be lost—from the admission of males into female prisons and rape-crisis centers, to the facilitation of sex-change surgery for schoolchildren.”
Rowling sees how women’s rights and causes will be detrimentally impacted by trans-activism.
In response to the hate she has received, Rowling penned a lengthy essay defending her position. Like Dr. Wright, she voices concern over the implications of a system that entirely does away with the scientific definition of “sex.” She explains that her charitable trust, which focuses on aiding women and children, and her funding of research into multiple sclerosis (which behaves very differently in men and women) would be greatly impacted by trans-activism.
Rowling divulges her own youthful struggles with feelings of gender dysphoria and states that books and music got her through the difficult time.
Rowling also writes that she is deeply concerned about the increasing number of young women who transition and then de-transition after regretting their decision, only to find that some aspects of their bodies have been irrevocably changed (often harming their fertility). In very transparent paragraphs, she divulges her own youthful struggles with feelings of gender dysphoria, but states that she was thankful that books and music — not operations — got her through the difficult time. She notes that 60-90% of gender dysphoric teens will outgrow their dysphoria as she did.
Rowling has concerns over the sexual abuse opportunities a sex-spectrum society will afford.
In even more candid subsequent paragraphs, she explains how the sexual abuse of her past has shaped her current beliefs. “When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman — and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones — then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.”
Women are at increased risk of sexual assault under laws that allow any man to identify as a woman and enter female-only spaces.
Rowling’s words mirror Wright’s worries over the threat posed to vulnerable people in the wake of increased trans rights. Women (and girls) are at increased risk of sexual assault under laws that allow any man to identify as a woman and then enter female-only spaces. As unpleasant as the backlash has been, Rowling writes that she refuses to “bow down to a movement that [she] believe[s] is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it.”
J.K. Rowling’s views and concerns are accurate and valid, and her willingness to speak the truth is commendable. The “hate” doesn’t come from her, but rather from the many who have brutally condemned her for exercising her right to free speech. Her comments have been a hard pill to swallow for those who can’t reconcile their support for transgenderism with their feminist ideologies. Instead of engaging in thoughtful dialogue, these people have turned to vilifying a courageous, honest, and once-respected woman. As she recently tweeted, “It isn’t hate to speak the truth.” She — nor any person — should ever receive such hostility for attempting to illuminate the gray areas of this world.