The #PrideMonth this year gets all the more crucial as it intersects with the #BlackLivesMatter protests. Conversations of black rights and pride are being promptly pulled out with the #PrideMonth while it is being observed across the world to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969. With George Floyd succumbing to police brutality on May 25 and the subsequent protests that have been rocking the US as well as other corners of the world, clearly not a lot has changed. Not the white elitism, not the police brutality, and also, not the queerphobic attitudes of some of the most educated and well-positioned people across the world.
J.K. Rowling has been facing the internet's ire for recently contributing to all the queerphobia. Harry Potter and Rowling fans worldwide were in for a huge disappointment after the best selling author decided to make a transphobic and problematic post on Twitter. Responding to an article on creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate, Rowling wrote, "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
Rowling's tweet mocks the idea of a gender-inclusive language. Her attempt to narrow it down to a single word (probably "woman" as can be interpreted by the "wo" suffix of all the ridiculous words suggested by her) simply undoes years of activism, attempts, and sacrifices made for a more gender-inclusive world and language. It is rather sad, not to mention shocking, that someone like Rowling, who has the mind to conjure a fantastical world fails to understand something as basic as the fact that not all women menstruate and more importantly, there are others like girls, trans men, and non-binary people who do.
Obviously, disappointed by her distasteful comments, the Twitterati took it to themselves to knock some sense into Rowling's transphobic head and make her realise how distasteful her remarks happen to be. Needless to say, her comment is all the more problematic right now, given the kind of social media following that she boasts of and how she could have used to amply the #PrideMonth of the #BlackLivesMater movement. Here's how Twitterati reacted to her tweet:
To choose pride month to come out with yet more transphobia, in a time when people are coming together to call out bigotry, is an indicator of how you only care about liberation for people like YOU...— Black Lives Matter ✊🏾 (@MunroeBergdorf) June 7, 2020
READ THE ROOM @jk_rowling
J.K. Rowling really just said “Transphobia Leviosa”— jean paul gotye (@_holterman) June 7, 2020
Sadly, Rowling didn't stop just there and came up with a bunch of ludicrous tweets in what she probably assumed was an explanation to what she had said.
She started by writing, "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 doesn’t hate to speak the truth." Well, it is really saddening to see Rowling using the crutches of feminism and gay allyship to explain her transphobia.
However, the internet isn't taking her hypocrisy anymore and the gay folks on Twitter quickly reacted on her problem with the idea of sex being a "social construct," a line of thought that states that while body organs are biological, to assign them meaning and call people "men," "women," or "trans" based on them is a social construct.
J.K. Rowling is using feminism as a way to justify her transphobia. Feminism is about wanting equality for everyone regardless of race, gender identity or sexuality. J.K. Rowling isn’t a feminist. If J.K. somehow sees this: I’m female. Fuck you. Trans rights are human rights.— Hyde🏳️🌈 9AM welsh owos #blacklivesmatter (@Hyde_hj17) June 6, 2020
As a gay man, let me just state for the record that "if sex isn't real there's no same-sex attraction" is absolute bullshit, and shame on J.K. Rowling for trying to use gay people as a wedge to spread transphobic propaganda. pic.twitter.com/RaQtYIvkYP— Aditya Mukerjee, the Otterrific 🦦 🏳️🌈 (@chimeracoder) June 6, 2020
Clearly, Rowling was on a roll with her Twitter misadventures for she didn't think twice before writing something so conceited as, "I’ve spent much of the last three years reading books, blogs and scientific papers by trans people, medics and gender specialists. I know exactly what the distinction is. Never assume that because someone thinks differently, they have no knowledge." Well, it is all the more disappointing to know that she had all the sources and information to know better and yet she actively chose to cling to her transphobia and be proud of it.
"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," read one of her tweets. Okay, Rowling, good read but reason has failed you big time here.
The truth is that they have been "discriminated against on the basis of being trans" for centuries now and yet the only marching we have seen from her end is the one towards the forbidding allys of transphobia. Of course, this is not the first time that Rowling has received flak for her transphobia. In 2018, Rowling faced backlash for liking a tweet that called trans women "men in dresses."
Needless to say, we have been highly disappointed in Rowling and her regressive ideas on sex, gender, and inclusiveness. We expected better from you Rowling, especially in the politically volatile times that present-day America navigates through!
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