J.K. Rowling, who is the author of the Harry Potter series, continues to defend her anti-trans beliefs. This week she compared hormone therapy to conversion therapy.
But it all started on June 10, in an essay she titled “TERF Wars,” where Rowling explained why she decided to speak out on sex and gender issues. She lists five reasons, which include that by using inclusive language that calls females “menstruators” and “people with vulvas,” it strikes many women as “dehumanizing and demeaning.”
“I understand why trans activists consider this language to be appropriate and kind, but for those of us who’ve had degrading slurs spat at us by violent men, it’s not neutral, it’s hostile and alienating,” Rowling writes in the essay.
Rowling wrote the essay after she received backlash to a Twitter post days earlier on June 6. She linked to an article titled “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 for people who menstruate,” and responded with “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Many people reacted negatively to her response.
One person wrote: “What the actual fuck? This is so disgraceful. Of all the hills to die on, and for what reason? Trans women are women and they are fighting for their lives. When you push this trans-exclusionary agenda, you make their lives infinitely more difficult. Shame on you.”
Clue, a period tracking app, explained the reason for using inclusive language: “Using non-gendered language is about moving beyond the idea that woman = uterus. Feminists were once mocked for wanting to change sexist language, but it’s now common to say firefighter instead of fireman. It seems awkward right now to say ‘people who menstruate’ but this is just like changing other biased language. Menstruation is a biological function; not a ‘woman thing.’ It's unnecessary to gender body parts and doing so can restrict healthcare access for those who need it.”
One person on Twitter noted: “That's interesting, because I have endometriosis and an IUD in place to treat it, and therefore, I no longer menstruate. I haven't had a menstrual cycle since early high school, and I'm 21. I guess I'm not a woman anymore?”
Meanwhile many of the actors in the Harry Potter film series chastised Rowling and defended the trans community.
Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter in the series, responded in a blog post on The Trevor Project to Rowling’s tweet stating "Transgender women are women."
He also wrote, "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 [J.K. Rowling] or I."
However, this did little to change Rowling’s mind. In her essay, another reason she lists is for the fear of girls and women being attacked.
She writes: “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.”
However, there is no evidence that supports her argument. In fact, according to a study conducted in 2018, it found that “reports of privacy and safety violations in public restrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms are exceedingly rare. This study provides evidence that fears of increased safety and privacy violations as a result of nondiscrimination laws are not empirically grounded.”
Rowling also claimed that young people who are struggling with their mental health are being “shunted towards” hormones and surgery that “may not be in their best interests,” on July 5 on Twitter.
"Many, myself included, believe we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people, who are being set on a lifelong path of medicalization that may result in the loss of their fertility and/or full sexual function," Rowling tweeted.
Her tweet was in response to a user called TrinerScot who called out the author for “liking” a post by user Manaxium that read: “Yes they are sometimes necessary and lifesaving, but they should be a last resort - not the first option. Pure laziness for those who would rather medicate than put in the time and effort to heal people's minds."
TrinerScot then posted, “Who had money on JK Rowling pivoting to supporting those who call people who take mental health medication 'lazy'? I take daily medication to function, this sentiment is beyond offensive, it is actively harmful to millions."
This caused her to post an 11-tweet rant starting with "I've ignored fake tweets attributed to me and RTed widely. I've ignored porn tweeted at children on a thread about their art. I've ignored death and rape threats. I'm not going to ignore this."
Many people are worried about Rowling’s beliefs about gender identity and sex, including Bospar Principal Curtis Sparrer.
"We are hoping the author stops maligning the transgender community with her wrong-headed words and ideas and takes the time to talk to transgender men and women to truly understand them,” Sparrer said a press release. “We hope she will reflect and change her thinking accordingly."
Bospar released a study for Pride, and it shows that from June 10 to June 12, over 1,000 Americans:
- 80.4% do not care about their coworker’s gender expression
- 78.1% believe trans people should be equal to non-trans people
- 68.7% believe trans people are equal to non-trans people
It also says although the Trump administration finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people in health care and health insurance, Bospar’s research shows that majorities of both Democrats (88.5%) and Republicans (67.3%) believe trans people should be equal to cisgender people, as stated in a press release. It also says majorities of Democrats (83.2%) and Republicans (73.5%) say they don’t care about their coworker’s gender expression.
“These results show the American public is not behind rolling back rights for the transgender community, as we are seeing right now from the Trump administration during Pride Month,” said Bospar Principal Tom Carpenter in a press release. “Just this week we saw health protections reversed, and it’s clear this will not be the last fight to face. It’s nice to see the American public is on the right side of history.”