Author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, came under fire on social media when she posted a series of Tweets which many criticized for being insensitive to the transgender and gender-queer community. Many fans of the novels spoke out against these remarks, including cast members from the hugely successful film franchise.
Rowling’s statements followed an opinion article titled, “Creating a More Equal Post-COVID-19 World for People Who Menstruate.”
Rowling replied, stating, “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Many took to social media to educate Rowling on the existence of trans and non-identifying individuals who menstruate but don’t identify as women.
Rowling followed up with a Tweet which many felt missed the point of the outrage, stating, “if sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived 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. The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women — ie, to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences — is a nonsense.”
While Rowling did try to convey her support for the trans community, her fans found her attempts to use sex and gender synonymously to be irresponsible, given her massive influence.
Actors from the Harry Potter films, Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, spoke out against Rowling’s statements. Grint said that he “firmly” stands with the trans community stating, “Trans women are women. Trans men are men,” he said. “We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”
Watson also spoke out stating that she “respects and loves” her trans followers. “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.”
Eddie Redmayne, who stars in the Harry Potter spin off film series, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” also criticized Rowling’s comments, stating “trans women are women, trans men are men, and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse.”
Danielle Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, even published a lengthy essay, disagreeing with Rowling’s statements. “I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now.” He continued, To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you. If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”
Photo Source: Evening Standard