As J.K. Rowling, author of the internationally acclaimed series 'Harry Potter,' continues to defend her anti-transgender statements on Twitter, fans are asking: what do we do now?
The most recent case of several involves a June 6 tweet from the author, regarding a Devex article exploring how the world can be made more fair during COVID-19 for "people who menstruate," in terms of access to the necessary hygienic supplies and practices required for menstruation. "An estimated 1.8 billion girls, women, and gender non-binary persons menstruate, and this has not stopped because of the pandemic," stated the article.
Rowling's statement on the article, which received wide criticism, commented: "‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"
When fans and critics called her out for the blatant dismissal of transgender and nonbinary people who menstruate, she defended herself on Twitter. “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” she wrote, “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.” She later added that she supports tans people's right to live as they please, but that her "life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”
In December, Rowling had defended researcher Maya Forstater for her comments on transgender women's inability to change their sex. In her tweet about Forstater, Rowling stated, “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.” As with recent events, the author came under fire for her support of blatant transphobia.
So the real question is... what now? Do fans continue to support Rowling's famous collection of books? Does it mean that the books and movies are now tainted with the creator's comments? Actor Daniel Radcliffe, who played the role of Harry Potter, weighed in.
“Transgender women are women,” he said, "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.” He later added, "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.”
So is Rowling's career over, or is the power of the story and the attachment of fans to her work strong enough to overcome this transphobia? Time will tell.