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Why J.K. Rowling’s rhetoric surrounding sex is dangerous for trans people

J.K. Rowling, author and mind behind the Harry Potter series, books full of magic, acceptance, and endless possibilities, once again contradicts the intrinsically loving themes of her work by spreading dangerous and misguided rhetoric online about the trans community.

Recently, the talented yet problematic author came under fire for making transphobic statements on her social media.

Rowling expresses her deep worry that women’s rights will be eroded when trans rights are added to the fight for justice. After receiving backlash, she doubled down and discussed the hate that she has received on her social media platforms.

While hate in response to hate is not the solution, Rowling refused to acknowledge how harmful her statements have been to Harry Potter fans who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

The author also recently made fun of an article for being more inclusive to genders in writing “people who menstruate” instead of what Rowling thought should be “women who menstruate.” And unfortunately, these aren’t the first instances that J.K. Rowling has been a controversial figure in the media.

After posting the above tweets, J.K. Rowling caught backlash calling her a TERF, which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminists. TERFs are feminists who don’t believe trans women are women.

J.K. Rowling has 14.5 million followers on Twitter, and an even larger worldwide following outside of Twitter. She is known for her Harry Potter franchise that she wrote as a single mother and built from past dreams and an incredible imagination.

J.K. Rowling furthers the notion that she’s a TERF in her response to why she suddenly decided to speak out on “sex and gender issues”.

In her response as to why she decided to open up about her opinions on this topic, J.K. Rowling shared five reasons she is worried about trans activism. One of her excuses was that many of the charities that she donates to are cis-women and children based, and she fears that trans activism will put cis-women survivors of domestic and sexual abuse in harm’s way.

Inexplicably, J.K. Rowling believes that cis-women and trans women are not equal because trans women are thought to be male when they are born.

Daniel Radcliffe was the first of the Harry Potter trio to share his response to J.K. Rowling’s comments. His response was clear: “Transgender women 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 who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”

Radcliffe works with and supports The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for the LGBTQ+ community. In his response, he shared a link from their website, hoping that people will join him in learning on how to be an ally to trans folk and those who are non-binary. 

Soon after Radcliffe shared his response, his Harry Potter co-stars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint spoke out against Rowling’s offensive tweets.

Emma Watson, known for her role in “Harry Potter” as Hermione Granger, is also an activist, holding a title as one of the UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors. So it was no surprise when she shared her support for the trans community.

In The Times, Rupert Grint made a statement saying, “I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. Trans women are women. Trans men are men,” adding that “We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”

In the same post in which Daniel Radcliffe addresses J.K. Rowling’s tweets, he assures followers that they don’t have to stop loving Harry Potter as a whole.

“…It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”

Harry Potter teaches children that everyone is different and that being different is okay and something to be proud of. Knowing that the once-beloved author has quickly become hated and looked down upon after contradicting this message is disheartening to many fans.

As mentioned before, these are not isolated incidents. Last year J.K. Rowling received a lot of hate after openly supporting Maya Forstarter, a researcher who was fired after expressing her beliefs that “it is impossible to change sex.”

J.K. Rowling even went as far as to write her own tweet backing up Maya Forstarter.

It’s clear that the author hasn’t been properly educated on sex versus gender and we hope that she will be able to find accurate information in the future.

Daniel Radcliffe understands that this is taken as a loss in the Harry Potter community, but doesn’t expect all of us to throw the messages we took from the series away, just yet. We need to continue to work together and stop the spreading of misinformation about trans folk.

As a Harry Potter fan, it sickens me to know that J.K. Rowling isn’t the open-minded icon that her work would lead us to believe she is. Harry Potter was written as a children’s book, and while still beloved by many adults, it is important for children especially to learn and practice inclusivity and love for all.

The series introduces readers to the world of Hogwarts, where anything is possible with a little bit of magic.