“Harry Potter” series author JK Rowling has angered a vocal portion of her fanbase with a recent tweet that many have argued is transphobic. Referencing Maya Forstater, a woman who lost her job for her transphobic comments, Rowling used the hashtag “I stand with Maya” on a tweet insisting that “sex is real.”
Reaction to Rowling’s tweet was negative on the social media platform, with many deriding the author’s take on the matter.
Maya Forstater was previously employed by the Center for Global Development and CGD Europe, a think tank organization, before posting on her social media about her lack of support for a UK effort to allow people to self-identify their gender. These remarks resulted in her termination, a move that she appealed to a tribunal court case.
Forstater’s controversial statements, including her belief that trans people are “deluded,” was used as evidence in court of her bias against trans people. As such, the case was ruled to be a matter of denial of dignity to trans people, and not, as Forstater claimed, an impugnment on her right to free speech. Many have called Forstater’s arguments a “dogwhistle,” insisting that she’s making these claims in bad faith.
Amidst the controversy, “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling waded in, tweeting in support of Forstater in the court case. “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill”
The tweet garnered support from many TERFs, or Trans-Exclusionary Reactionist Feminists, who are known for adamantly policing who “is” and “is not” a woman on the basis of birth gender assignments. Additionally, numerous commenters reminded the author that “trans women are women” and that “trans rights are human rights.”
The issue that many have taken with both Forstater, and now Rowling’s, assertions, is that they seek to paint trans women as “men in disguise” who are acting in bad faith in an attempt to get into “women’s-only” spaces. Trans rights activists insist that such narratives aren’t based in fact, and that they are an attempt to discredit trans people and cast doubt on their motivations.