J.K. Rowling releases essay
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling faced serious backlash for her tweets about the trans community over the weekend.
Her comments resulted in many online branding her, 'transphobic.'
It all kicked off when she shared her confusion over an article discussing, 'people who menstruate.'
The 54-year-old commented, 'I’m sure there used to be a word for those people.'
'Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?'
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
'It isn’t hate to speak the truth'
She took to Twitter to defend her beliefs after facing criticism.
Rowling wrote, '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,' the author added.
She continued, 'I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.'
'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,' Rowling finished.
I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. 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.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Rowling's attempts to defend her position were met with an even angrier response.
So just last night, she released an essay over 3,500 words long explaining why she said what she said.
She began by revealing where her interest in trans issues stemmed from.
The author said she's been doing a lot of research for a crime series she's writing.
'...my fictional female detective is of an age to be interested in, and affected by, these issues herself...'
However, she explained she's also interested in the issue because, 'It's intensely personal.'
Where it all started
Rowling said the backlash started when she accidentally liked a post about, 'gender identity and transgender matters.'
Many took offense to her show of support for this particular post.
The author explained that all she was trying to do was screenshot the post, 'as a way of reminding myself what I might want to research later.'
When Rowling followed Magdalen Burns on Twitter, the backlash became even more intense.
She explained, 'Magdalen was a great believer in the importance of biological sex, and didn’t believe lesbians should be called bigots for not dating trans women with penises...'
'Dots were joined in the heads of twitter trans activists, and the level of social media abuse increased.'
Rowling receives an, 'avalanche of emails and letters...'
Soon after this, the author received an, 'avalanche of emails and letters...' the majority of which, 'were positive, grateful and supportive.'
They came from those, 'worried about the dangers to young people, gay people and about the erosion of women’s and girl’s rights.'
'Above all, they’re worried about a climate of fear that serves nobody – least of all trans youth – well.'
Rowling asked, 'So why am I doing this? Why speak up?'
'Why not quietly do my research and keep my head down?' She added.
'Well, I’ve got five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism, and deciding I need to speak up.'
The first reason
Rowling claimed, 'the new trans activism is having a significant impact on the many causes I support.'
She shared that she has, 'a charitable trust that focuses on alleviating social deprivation in Scotland, with a particular emphasis on women and children.'
The author explained, 'Among other things, my trust supports projects for female prisoners and for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.'
'I also fund medical research into MS, a disease that behaves very differently in men and women.'
Rowling believes trans activism is, 'pushing to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender.'
The second reason
Rowling added that the second reason for her stance is that she's an ex teacher and founder of a children's charity.
She explained, 'this gives me an interest in both education and safeguarding.'
'Like many others, I have deep concerns about the effect the trans rights movement is having on both.'
The third reason
Rowling said the third reason is that she's, 'interested in freedom of speech...'
She said that she has, 'publicly defended it, even unto Donald Trump.'
The fourth reason
Rowling revealed the fourth reason, 'is where things start to get truly personal.'
'I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility.'
'Some say they decided to transition after realising they were same-sex attracted, and that transitioning was partly driven by homophobia, either in society or in their families.'
The author goes into much more detail on this in her essay.
The fifth reason
Rowling's fifth and final reason for speaking out about trans activism is that she wants, 'trans women to be safe.'
The author revealed that she is, 'a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor.'
'Trans people need and deserve protection. Like women, they’re most likely to be killed by sexual partners.'
The writer continued, 'Trans women who work in the sex industry, particularly trans women of colour, are at particular risk.'
'Like every other domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor I know, I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men.'
Rowling goes into much more detail on this in her essay, which you can read in full here.
Many have taken to social media in response to Rowling's comments.
Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe even released a statement apologising to the those hurt by her comments.
He wrote, 'Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.'
Read his full statement here.
While Luna Lovegood actress Evanna Lynch said it was, 'irresponsible,' of Rowling, 'to discuss such a delicate topic over Twitter.'
She tweeted, 'I imagine that being trans and learning to accept and love yourself is challenging enough and we as a society should not be adding to that pain.'
Read her full statement here.
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Hermione actress Emma Watson tweeted her love and respect for the trans community.
She wrote, 'Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.'
'I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.'
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) June 10, 2020
And Warner Bros. released a statement to Deadline, revealing their stance on the issue.
'The events in the last several weeks have firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues.'
'Warner Bros.’ position on inclusiveness is well established, and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world.'
The statement went on, 'We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all.'
'We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.'
No further comment has been made.