The Harry Potter franchise is beloved, but creator J.K. Rowling has frequently been the subject of heavy criticism over the last few years for various reasons. The side-stepping of Dumbledore’s sexuality in the Fantastic Beasts films, for example, or the troubling depiction of a rare Asian character in the Wizarding World in the same movie series. The latest furore is particularly disheartening for fans though, as Rowling has shown her support for anti-trans views.
Today, the author responded to the firing of policy researcher Maya Forstater from her job at the Centre for Global Development due to her sharing transphobic comments on Twitter. One tweet, for instance, read “men cannot change into women.” Rowling made clear that she’s firmly in defence of Forstater, using the #IStandWithMaya hashtag and posting a message that many have seen as offensive and dismissive of the trans community.
Here’s Rowling’s original tweet:
Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019
Though the above tweet has accrued over 13k retweets, the replies below it are full of fans either disappointed or driven to fury over Rowling’s support of such hateful views. In fact, some demonstrated their frustration with GIFS or memes, as seen below:
— no more mr wife guy (@TheSocietyDude) December 19, 2019
— Sam Maggs (@SamMaggs) December 19, 2019
Others attempted to point out to Rowling the scientific ignorance that often fuels transphobia,
In fact, the World Health Organization–among countless other medical authorities–validate trans people in their authentic gender identity.
It is quite clear you don't understand the first thing about the trans community or the science at play.
This is heartbreaking.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) December 19, 2019
This isn’t the first time Rowling has been accused of transphobia, with a previous scandal erupting when the writer was found to have liked anti-trans tweets. This has led to Rowling being described as a TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist).
going full TERF, I see. At least you finally took off that mask for all to see.
— “Celia” (@_celia_bedelia_) December 19, 2019
For trans people who grew up loving the Harry Potter books, Rowling’s support of Forstater feels like a very personal betrayal.
I grew up as a trans child reading your books as an escape. I would often pick out names from characters to give to myself, before I ever felt comfortable in who I was. This decision, to support people that hate me, and want to do me harm. It brings me to tears… Why. Why?
— Noel is entering peak holiday spirit (@notafootstool) December 19, 2019
After penning the scripts for the first two Fantastic Beasts films, J.K. Rowling will co-scribe the third with Steve Kloves, who wrote the adapted screenplays for the Harry Potter movies. Fantastic Beasts 3 is due to be set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and will hit theaters in November 2021.
Tell us, though, what do you make of Rowling’s latest comments? Do you agree with what folks are saying on Twitter? Sound off below with your thoughts.