A backlash quickly followed after the author's posts on social media concerning trans people – in one she writes (in response to an article being titled 'Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate'), "‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?". Seemingly glossing over the fact that trans men and non-binary people can still have periods.
Many Twitter users aired their disappointment in Rowling, including singer-songwriter Mary Lambert, who wrote, "You have power and influence. Why would you do this? What does it achieve? Do you feel like more of a woman when you punch down? Are you threatened? Some trans men menstruate. Why does that affect you? Why do you want to police that?"
Others pointed out that given the current prevalence of the Black Lives Matter movement, pushing for equal rights for all, her tweets came at a particularly tone-deaf time.
Radcliffe joined forces with The Trevor Project, an LGBT suicide prevention charity, to air his thoughts on gender identity.
"Transwomen 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," said the actor, in a lengthy post. "We need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm."
Radcliffe also acknowledged the huge impact that the Harry Potter series has had on his life, and in turn, J K Rowling. "While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honoured to work with The Trevor Project, and as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment."
He then shared that he hoped Rowling's comments wouldn't take away any of the positive elements of the books or films for trans fans. "If you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book, and it is sacred. "
J K Rowling continues to deny being transphobic. On Twitter, she said: "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."
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.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
One in five LGBTQ+ people, and two in five trans people, have experienced a hate crime in the past year because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
For more information, support and to donate to The Trevor Project, visit the website.
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