TW // transphobic comments, J.K. Rowling, ruining your childhood
We’re not surprised, just disappointed.
You may know J.K. Rowling as the author of the best-selling Harry Potter franchise, but she’s also known for other things — like being a trans-exclusionary radical feminist, also known as a TERF. Her latest transphobic comment came less than twenty-four hours before Warner Bros. released the official trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, the third installment of the Harry Potter spin-off series. The timing is comical, to say the least, and fans have been firing off on Twitter.
You might be thinking: “What did she say this time?” Well, it's pretty bad. I think the tweet speaks for itself:
Rowling claims that a person with a penis can’t — and shouldn’t — be identified as a woman. The comment was made in response to Scotland Police stating that they would recognize the gender identity of sexual offenders in rape cases; for instance, recording that the perpetrator is a woman if the individual identifies as a female.
Ironically, Rowling believes ignorance makes you weak when she’s the one expressing her own so openly online. And considering that it’s only been two years since her initial anti-trans incident, it’s safe to say this isn't an isolated case.
Her cruel and offensive language may sound familiar. In June 2020, Rowling received severe backlash for criticizing the phrase “people who menstruate.” In retaliation, the golden trio — Daniel Ratcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint — were among the many actors who spoke out in support of trans rights. Eddie Redmayne, the lead of Fantastic Beasts, also stood up for trans and non-binary people amidst the controversy.
It’s hard to ignore J.K. Rowling’s blatant transphobia when the world she created touched so many lives. Today, Harry Potter is still very much alive: there’s a stage play on Broadway, a section of not one but two Universal theme parks and three spin-off films (so far) inspired by the wizarding world.
With 13.9 million followers on Twitter and even more money in the bank, J.K. Rowling has a platform to voice her opinion on anything she pleases. But with that voice comes a responsibility. And that responsibility includes not causing more harm than good, especially toward the very fans behind your success — many of which belong to the LGBTQIA+ community and are directly impacted by this rhetoric. The Scotland government is taking steps in the right direction — including working toward doing away with medical checks for individuals seeking gender recognition certificates and we can only hope that voices like hers don’t delay the progress that is being made.
That’s why it’s so important that we bring light to hate, regardless of who is perpetuating it. Harry Potter taught us to love — to love magic, to love reading and to love others. So be loud, and love louder.