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The problem with JK Rowling

Oh, JK Rowling.

For someone that authored such a magical, inclusive and empowering set of books that have touched so many peoples lives, it is such a shame (and a shock to some) that cancel culture would have her in their sights as their next target. And when I saw why her name was trending on Twitter recently, I really had nothing to say in defence of one of my favourite authors of all time.

JK has quite a following. In fact, she has 14.5 million people following her on Twitter alone, providing her with a platform that today equates so much power. In the past she has used her platform well, supporting charities, promoting the Lumos Foundation and being an advocate for women and minority groups that don’t always have the voice they need to be heard.

She hasn’t always had the perfect track record when it comes to airing her thoughts – and this tweet is certainly one of those occasions.

With a single tweet, JK did a number of things. She divided people. She incited hate. She made an already difficult battle for trans people, even harder. And she threw all of her former fans into a moral quandary.

But let’s get the definition straight.

‘Sex is based on biological attributes such as physical and physiological features, including chromosomes and reproductive organs, while gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, men and gender-diverse people.’

– Canadian Institutes of Health Research

As Image magazine said just recently: “Sex isn’t binary, it’s not a scientific certainty and it should not be confused with gender, which is a social construct. The sooner we start understanding that, the more compassionate, nurturing world we will be.”

So why is JK dragging up trans issues over Twitter right now anyway?

Well, it isn’t the first time. You might remember that last year, Rowling tweeted her support for Maya Forstater. A woman who was fired from her job for tweeting her opposition to a British proposal that would allow people to identify as the opposite sex.

“Over the past few years, Rowling has made several statements that suggest a growing alliance with TERFism — trans-exclusionary radical feminism, or the belief that trans women aren’t women and that biological sex is the only factor that determines someone’s gender.” – VOX

On her website, after her initial tweet that went viral JK said: “I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.”

Unfortunately, where JK Rowling has gone so wrong, we’re unsure of whether she will be able to redeem herself. But we truly hope that she will educate herself and appreciate the emotive response she has had from people from her outright transphobic comments.

One writer for VOX said: “Rowling attempted to explain her stance on trans identity with a long essay full of harmful transphobic stereotypes. It was a profoundly hurtful piece of writing, riddled with hand-wringing, groundless arguments about villainous trans women, outdated science, and exclusionary viewpoints.”

What are the press saying?

“I will say that like Rowling, we’ve all worn our teenage skins uncomfortably, our bodies alien and unfamiliar prison-like cells. At some point, most of us have wanted to wrap ourselves in a cloak of invisibility and simply pass through the world unscrutinized. This is not the same as wanting to transition. I cannot speak for an entire group of people, but transition is not a quick Band-Aid for a little gender discomfort, nor do I suspect it’s an easy choice. We’re in danger of reducing trans lives to a philosophical quandary, or a debate, or a trend. They are existences. To question that is to deny it.

It’s painful to see J.K.’s ecosystem of acceptance quake. To see her wield the privilege of her platform and create discord between fellow humans (she has more followers than there are trans people on the planet). She stabs interrogatively at trans-identification with a basilisk fang. It’s grim to watch the noble core of the Potterverse melt like a Strepsil, to see the wave of inclusivity she built seeping into the sand. All we can do now is stand back and watch the slow evaporation of her legacy of hope.”

Vogue

“What Rowling is failing to understand here is that gender has nothing to do with genitals (which are no one’s business), and that it also has nothing. to do with what was marked on a piece of paper at a person’s birth. A person’s gender is personal, and on their own experience within their body.”

Allure

“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.”

Daniel Radcliffe’s statement to the press

Can we Separate the World of Harry Potter from JK Rowling?

Well, it’s certainly a question a lot of former fans have been asking themselves. And, with official fan websites publicly denouncing further association with her, and many of the Harry Potter film actors coming forward in support of the trans community – it’s safe to say that you can safely part the magical world from the reality of its author.

“The Harry Potter book series helped me realize I’m nonbinary. Now I know that had nothing to do with J.K. Rowling.” – Aja, VOX.

The beauty of art is that you can perceive and experience it in anyway that you wish. An author may try and steer their readers in a certain direction to feel a certain feeling, but each and every reader will interpret the story differently.

“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.”

Emma Watson AKA Hermione Granger

“I disagree with Jo’s comments. 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. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”

Eddie Redmayne AKA Newt Scamander

“Transgender women are women. 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 [Rowling] or I.”

Daniel Radcliffe AKA Harry Potter

“If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for you, that love is infinite and there to take without judgment or question. Transwomen are Women. I see and love you.”

Bonnie Wright AKA Ginny Weasley

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