Several weeks ago, J.K. Rowling posted a series of tweets that activists have deemed transphobic. Numerous companies and individuals associated with the Harry Potter writer have denounced her as a result and now, Miriam Margolyes, the actress who played the students’ lobotomy professor, Sprout, has added her voice to a group which includes WB execs and franchise stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Eddie Redmayne, among others.
The controversy began when Rowling responded to an op-ed which argued governments should put more effort into care available for “people who menstruate.” In her response, Rowling implied that there was a word for such people, and that that word was “women.” Her comment was deemed transphobic because there are many people who also menstruate – such as transgenders, non-binaries and gender nonconformists – but do not identify as women.
In an interview with The Times, Margoyles expressed her dislike of Rowling’s conservative attitude toward trans people. “It’s a matter of personal happiness for people,” she said, “and I think that’s what you should concentrate on.” She proceeded to compare Rowling’s attitude to those on the right side of the political spectrum, saying:
“She [Rowling] has a rather conservative view of transgender people. I don’t think I do…It’s a matter of personal happiness for people and I think that’s what you should concentrate on…If you seriously want to become a woman you should be allowed to. You can’t be fascist about it.”
After receiving negative backlash from Twitter users, Rowling wrote a series of posts in which she argued biological sex was real. This point in particular drew the attention of LGBT activist group GLAAD, whose attempts to enter into dialogue with the writer have been to little avail. One spokesperson of the organization even pointed out how there’s a blatant contradiction between the values J.K. Rowling preaches in her stories, and the ones she maintains in real life.
Despite her poor public image, Rowling is yet to be dropped from the Fantastic Beasts saga. As the sole creator of not only the characters of this story but also the world it takes place in, her removal is virtually impossible, no matter what she says or thinks. As such, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the remaining movies in the series.