J.K. Rowling Insinuates Nazis Did Not Burn Trans Books

Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images
Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images

J.K. Rowling is once again making ignorant and anti-trans comments online. On Wednesday, the Harry Potter author’s name began trending on X thanks to an ill-advised post in which she denied the claim that Nazis burned “books on trans healthcare and research.”

“I just… how?” Rowling wrote above a screenshot of a nameless user’s post. “How did you type this out and press send without thinking ‘I should maybe check my source for this, because it might’ve been a fever dream’?””

Soon afterward, many X users—including the extremely online actor George Takei—replied to Rowling’s tweet to point out, as Takei wrote, “This is in fact true.”

As Scientific American notes, Adolf Hitler’s campaign to rid Germany of Lebensunwertes Leben—meaning, “lives unworthy of living”—led to the mass extermination of several communities, including Jewish people and homosexuals and transgender people. According to the Holocaust Remembrance Day Trust—a charity established and funded by the United Kingdom’s government—May 6, 1933 marked the infamous day when Nazi-supporting youth broke into the Institute of Sexology. Days later, the Nazi youth groups burned the library’s looted contents (and tens of thousands of other texts) in the streets.

The Holocaust Remembrance Day Trust describes the Institute of Sexology as having “achieved a global reputation for its pioneering work on transsexual understanding and calls for equality for homosexuals, transgender people and women.” Scientific American, meanwhile, notes that the organization contained the world’s first trans clinic.

Why Is Anyone Still Listening to J.K. Rowling?

When Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic, confronted Rowling on X for, as she put it, “engaging in Holocaust denial,” the author came back with a strange reply, in which she chided that neither of the articles Caraballo had included in her response “support the contention that trans people were the first victims of the Nazis or that all research on trans healthcare was burned in 1930s Germany.”

Afterward, when Caraballo pressed Rowling to explain how her original post insinuated as such, Rowling responded with a screenshot of an entirely different post. Caraballo pointed out as much in her final comeback, and included a GIF of soccer players moving goalposts across a field. As of the time of writing—five hours later—Rowling has not responded.

Rowling has been spouting anti-trans rhetoric for years now, although she’s insisted that she “never set out to upset anyone.” Last year came The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling, a podcast from Bari Weiss’ The Free Press that framed the author as a survivor of a larger culture war. Predictably, the project included just enough opposition to Rowling to skate by, but not enough to truly capture the full argument. Regardless, it appears that Rowling won’t be letting this go anytime soon.

Editor’s note: The headline on this story has been updated to more precisely reflect what Rowling wrote.

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