JK Rowling’s Transphobia Controversy

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Dean Guiliano, Centurion Staff

J.K. Rowling, acclaimed author of the Harry Potter series, has been under fire recently after making controversial comments on the transgender community.

Rowling began by critiquing an article using the phrase “people who menstruate,” stating that the term should be limited to women only.

After receiving backlash, Rowling continued to open up her beliefs further: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the livid reality of women globally is erased. 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.”

Rowling added, “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 kept doubling down on her stance, and on June 10, she posted a lengthy article titled “TERF Wars.” TERF being an acronym for “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.”

Rowling commented, “Last December I tweeted my support for Maya Forstater, a tax specialist who’d lost her job for what were deemed ‘transphobic’ tweets. She took her case to an employment tribunal, asking the judge to rule on whether a philosophical belief that sex is determined by biology is protected in law. Judge Tayler ruled that it wasn’t.”

This chain of events led droves of social media users to speak out against Rowling’s comments and criticize the author for using her platform to spread such hateful opinions. Many actors of

the Harry Potter films, including titular star Daniel Radcliffe, have gone against Rowling in favor of the transgender community

Albert Wilson, political science major at Gettysburg College and Bensalem native said, “Unfortunately, JK Rowling isn’t the only celebrity who holds transphobic views. But what’s particularly harmful about her is how she goes out of her way to voice her transphobia. It’s one thing to hate, a worse thing to actively voice your hate, especially when you have as powerful a platform as her.”

Nicholas Guiliano, chemistry and neuroscience major at MIT stated “She’s a bigot in a position of power because of her popularity. Like a less powerful Trump, really. But she did lose fans because of her comments since plenty of her fans were some form of queer or LGBTQ+. Yet she still said it, so she’s obviously meant it.”

Rowling has been a massive cultural influence for many young people as a result of the Harry Potter series. For so many of her fans to identify as LGBTQ+ and see someone whose work they adore share such damaging beliefs is really an awful thing, especially in this age where positivity and inclusivity is essential.