News & Opinion | December 19, 2019 10:14 am

J.K. Rowling Accused of Being Transphobic Over Tweet

Critics are calling the author a transphobe and a TERF

J.K. Rowling Transphobia
Rowling is being called a TERF for supporting a woman fired for transphobic tweets.
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

J.K. Rowling has tweeted some eyebrow-raising things over the years, mostly involving the revelation of non-canon “facts” about fictional characters in the Harry Potter universe. But her most recent Twitter controversy has nothing to do with speculations about Hermione’s race or Dumbledore’s sexuality.

The author is being called out for a Thursday morning tweet in support of Maya Forstater, a woman who was fired from her job at the Centre for Global Development for a series of transphobic tweets questioning government plans to allow trans people to self-identify their gender.

After taking to Twitter to express her “shock and disbelief” Wednesday, Forstater attracted a following of supporters using the hashtag #IStandWithMaya — Rowling among them.

Thursday morning, Rowling tweeted out her support in an off-putting stanza-like format, writing: “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?”

The tweet was accompanied by the hashtags #IStandWithMaya and #ThisIsNotADrill.

The author’s tweet quickly attracted criticism from people accusing her of transphobia and calling Rowling a “TERF,” or “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.”

“J. K. Rowling has always been a TERF,” one user tweeted, while another said that the author “has proven time and time again she’s a bad little tory terf and if you refuse to see that because she wrote some boarding school abracadabra shit years ago you’re a part of the problem.”

Other critics included LGBTQ individuals  who recalled looking up to Rowling in their youth and lamented the loss of an early presumed ally.

“The time has come to unfollow J.K. Rowling. From childhood hero to gay baiting sellout and now to TERF/transphobic defense squad,” wrote one user.

“I grew up as a trans child reading your books as an escape,” wrote another. “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?”

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