The author didn’t back down after receiving criticism
The author commented on an article from Devex titled “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate,” by saying, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” She was immediately called out as being “anti-trans” and “transphobic” because transgender people, non-binary people, and gender-nonconforming people can all menstruate.
Instead of using this as a learning opportunity, Rowling doubled down by saying in part, “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.”
She continued: “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. 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’m pretty sure that happens every single day, Rowling — it’s not an “if.”
GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ rights organization, responded to Rowling’s comments, saying the author “continues to align herself with an ideology that willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans. In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people.” The organization also provided a list of organizations people can support to redirect their “rightful anger” over Rowling’s comments.
The organization also spoke out last year after the author publicly supported a researcher who was fired for saying a person cannot change their biological sex.
“J.K. Rowling, whose books gave kids hope that they could work together to create a better world, has now aligned herself with an anti-science ideology that denies the basic humanity of people who are transgender,” said Anthony Ramos, head of talent at GLAAD. “Trans men, trans women and non-binary people are not a threat, and to imply otherwise puts trans people at risk. Now is the time for allies who know and support trans people to speak up and support their fundamental right to be treated equally and fairly.”
Jonathan Van Ness slammed Rowling on Twitter for the timing of her remarks, saying, “Trans women are women. Trans Black people & trans non-Black people are discriminated against every single day. They’re dying. We’re fighting for Black people & trans people and you’re doing this?”
Singer Halsey also responded to Rowling’s messages, saying, “Imagine writing a generation defining series about a youth uprisal that defeats a tyrannical monster motivated by the preservation of ‘pure blood’ and looking at THIS time in the world and going ‘hmm…yep. I’m gonna invalidate trans people.'”