J.K. Rowling drew criticism from celebs including Daniel Radcliffe and Jonathan Van Ness, among others, after she mocked a headline with the term "people who menstruate" on Twitter over the weekend. The headline of the article -- published by Devex, which describes itself as a media platform for the global development community -- reads, "Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate." Rowling had an issue specifically with the more inclusive term "people who menstruate."
Rowling posted the article and tweeted, "'People who menstruate.' 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?— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
Some Twitter users slammed the Harry Potter author for the tweet, accusing her of excluding transgender men and women. Rowling didn't shy away from defending her position.
"I've spent much of the last three years reading books, blogs and scientific papers by trans people, medics and gender specialists," she tweeted. "Never assume that because someone thinks differently, they have no knowledge. 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."
"If sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction. If sex isn't real, the lived reality of women globally is erased," she continued. "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."
GLAAD responded to Rowling by urging people to support organizations dedicated to helping black transgender men and women.
"JK Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans," the organization tweeted. "In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people. We stand with trans youth, especially those Harry Potter fans hurt by her inaccurate and cruel tweets."
If you want to direct your rightful anger over JK Rowling's latest anti-trans comments into something positive, support orgs that help Black trans people like @MPJInstitute, @blacktransusa, @TransJusticeFP, @Genderintell and @ukblackpride— GLAAD (@glaad) June 7, 2020
A number of celebrities also criticized Rowling, including Daniel Radcliffe, who starred as her most famous literary creation, Harry Potter, in the film adaptations of her bestselling book series. The 30-year-old actor penned a lengthy essay addressing the remarks, which was posted to the website for The Trevor Project.
"While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment," Radcliffe wrote. "Transgender women are women," he continued. "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."
Radcliffe went on to say that, given the rates of discrimination faced by transgender and nonbinary youth, it's "clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm."
Another celeb who spoke out against Rowling's remarks was Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness.
"Trans women are women," he tweeted. "Trans Black people & trans non-Black people are discriminated against every single day. They're dying. We're fighting for Black people & trans people and you're doing this?"
Meanwhile, Halsey tweeted, "Imagine writing a generation defining series about a youth uprisal that defeats a tyrannical monster motivated by the preservation of 'pure blood' and looking at THIS time in the world and going 'hmm...yep. I'm gonna invalidate trans people.'"
Imagine writing a generation defining series about a youth uprisal that defeats a tyrannical monster motivated by the preservation of “pure blood” and looking at THIS time in the world and going “hmm...yep. I’m gonna invalidate trans people.”— h (@halsey) June 7, 2020
Sarah Paulson retweeted activist Ben O'Keefe, who called the author a "transphobic f**k." O'Keefe tweeted in part, "You don't know or love any trans people if you won't even acknowledge their existence. Thanks for ruining the books of my childhood. Just stop talking."
Paulson added, "Word. Goodnight and shut up."
In addition, Harry Potter stars Noma Dumezweni and Katie Leung publicly responded by showing support for the trans community. Dumezweni played the role of Hermione in the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and Leung played Cho Chang in the Harry Potter films.
1. Dear Jo - Marsha P. Johnson. Sylvia Rivera. Indya Moore. Angelica Ross. Tamara Adrián. Rebecca Root. Isis King. Laverne Cox. Caitlyn Jenner. Lily and Lana Wachowski. Trace Lysette. Andreja Pejic. Tracey Norman. Janet Mock. APRIL ASHLEY... etc, etc, Wikipedia..— Noma (@MissDumezweni) June 7, 2020
2. As I honour mine, and the trans friends in my life. I’ll defer to THEIR LIVED EXPERIENCES, not their erasure. And these are just the WOMEN! There is Magic in listening. This 🌍 has stories for millennia. I know You Know All this...with love. Nx #TransRightsAreHumanRights pic.twitter.com/dvkS14rIVL— Noma (@MissDumezweni) June 7, 2020
So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes...(thread)— Katie Leung (@Kt_Leung) June 7, 2020
This isn't the first time 54-year-old Rowling has been accused of being transphobic. She drew criticism last year when she showed support for researcher Maya Forstater, who was fired after she posted tweets that were considered offensive, including that "men cannot change into women."
Rowling tweeted at the time, "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."
Read more responses from celebs and activists to her latest tweets:
maam ... read the room and post about BLM ! how is this the right time to go off on this ?— KIM PETRAS 🐩 (@kimpetras) June 6, 2020
I assure you, they do not love you back— Mara “Get Rid of the Nazis” Wilson (@MaraWilson) June 6, 2020
JK Rowling choosing to tweet about trans women not being real women RIGHT NOW during BLM uproar really shows her depth of thought about trans people AND black people... I am gettin flu-like symptoms trying to imagine her thoughts (or lack-there-of) on... the intersection 🧙🏼♀️— Patti Harrison (@Party_Harderson) June 7, 2020
.@jk_rowling your transphobic, divisive, inhumane, disgusting opinions are 100% the problem. Take your voice, your franchise, your presence, and be gone. EVANESCO!— Javier Muñoz (@JMunozActor) June 7, 2020
PRIDE MONTH! And I stand with my entire LGBTQ+ community, especially my Trans family.#PrideMonth #LGBTQ
JK Rowling honestly breaks my heart. When you dehumanise and discriminate against trans people because you refuse to educate yourself, you hurt our entire LGBTQ+ community. To all trans people, I stand with you and support you. Hermione and Albus Dumbledore would’ve done the same— Luke Waltham (@lukewaltham) June 7, 2020
I was a proud Hufflepuff, and just removed that from my bio. JK really needs to apologize and acknowledge how many people she's hurt with her stance.— Cheo Hodari Coker (@cheo_coker) June 7, 2020
View this post on Instagram
I am not the person you will find calling out people on the internet, but that being said this one is personal. JK Rowling ...why I find your comments so disconcerting ... damn there are so many reasons. First of all, I don’t think especially now, that you realize the accidental queer haven you created in your books for so many kids within the lgbt spectrum. Right now you are telling countless trans/femme kids that they basically didn’t deserve to be a part of that Utopia. That you pretty much negate the presence of their identities in this world. And the worst part of all is that you feel attacked? You feel like your womanhood is attacked by a movement towards trans equality? What does this AT ALL have to do with you and your womanhood and why do you feel so angry? Are you scared that the inclusion of trans femme people somehow erases you? Do you see the swarths of cisgender white woman agreeing with you on twitter and basically unifying over the erasure or trans bodies? Do you see that by talking you are refusing to listen to a group of people are being murdered, beaten, and left unprotected by the law everyday. Because I know, and so many others know that you, as a white cis gender woman, have had a lot more years of systematic privilege and power than trans folks. Separating cis women from trans women is exactly what allows this systematic privilege/hierarchy to continue. So please ask yourself why you are talking, why you are disrupting this movement with your confusing words, and why, as a writer, you feel the need to attack a group of people who most likely sustained your business for many years. Bye