When she could just sit back and count (or better yet donate!) her millions, J.K. Rowling is back doing her favorite thing on the internet: being transphobic and loud about it.
While the rest of your timeline was tweeting about the global protests against police brutality and racial injustice, the “Harry Potter” author thought now was the right time to disappoint her legions of fans yet again with an anti-trans tweetstorm.
On Saturday evening, Rowling expressed her unfounded befuddlement over an opinion article titled, “Creating a More Equal Post-COVID-19 World for People Who Menstruate,” pushing back against the headline for not referring to those who get their periods as just “women.”
“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out,” she wrote in her initial tweet. “Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
The tweet sparked a wave of backlash from the LGBTQ community and its supporters, who were quick to remind Rowling that transgender people, non-binary people and gender-nonconforming people can also menstruate.
“Hi! I’m a man! I menstruate! Stop being an asshole,” wrote “Survivor” alum Zeke Smith in response, adding in a separate tweet, “I’m tired of the world pretending my body and experience doesn’t exist, and that I have to take a back seat and be happy about it.”
“These times are hard enough without YOU, a wealthy white woman, tweeting transphobia from your mansion,” model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, who is trans, also tweeted. “Trans people really don’t need your bullshit right now. Do us all a favour and give it a rest. To say that you’re a disappointment is an understatement.”
But Rowling was just getting started, doubling down on her stance in a series of increasingly offensive tweets in which she pushed forth the notion that the very idea of gender identity invalidates her experience as a cisgender woman.
“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.”
And so began another round of dragging, as many were quick to remind Rowling that sex and gender identity are two different things.
“The vast consensus of medical and other scientific experts validate trans people and urge affirmation of us,” activist Charlotte Clymer wrote. “Your own country’s medical organizations have said as much. You don’t love trans people, and certainly don’t care about us.”
“This woman is complete scum. Shut the fuck up you transphobic fuck. You don’t know or love any trans people if you won’t even acknowledge their existence,” Benjamin O’Keefe, a former staffer on Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, wrote. “Thanks for ruining the books of my childhood. Just stop talking. We know you’re a TERF. You don’t need to keep doing this,”
Actor Sarah Paulson retweeted that message on her own account, adding, “Word. Goodnight and shut up @jk_rowling.”
Rowling then pushed back against many labeling her as a TERF (which stands for “trans exclusionary radical feminist”), adding that she respects trans people’s right to live authentically.
“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.
Her use of the conditional “if” drew even more fire, as trans people are discriminated against on the basis of being trans and Black trans women in particular are murdered at disproportionately high rates.
“It’s not hate if u say that YOU’RE a woman. It’s HARMFUL 2 say TRANSWOMEN are men,” “Drag Race” star Peppermint wrote. “Thus not a hypothetical ’If, but WHEN WE ARE DISCRIMINATED against IS CLEAR if u connect reports of VIOLENCE & removal of transfolk.”
The LGBTQ rights organization GLAAD weighed in, urging people to donate to several nonprofits supporting Black trans people, while disavowing Rowling’s continued alignment 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 wrote, calling her comments “cruel and inaccurate” in a different tweet.
Rowling’s Twitter rant comes less than six months the author was criticized for supporting Maya Forstater, a researcher who lost her job over a series of transphobic tweets, which were condemned by a court as “incompatible with human dignity.”