J.K. Rowling Doubles Down On Transphobic Comments In Lengthy Essay

Following backlash from transphobic tweets, Rowling published a lengthy essay on her personal website attempting to justify her views.

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“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling doubled down on her recent transphobic comments in a lengthy essay detailing her fear of "trans activism" and what she describes as dangers of trans-friendly policies. Meanwhile, multiple “Harry Potter” movie stars have spoken out against Rowling's comments and emphasized their support of transgender people. 

Rowling first tweeted on Saturday, mocking an op-ed headline that read, "Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate."

Rowling critiqued the language chosen, drawing further backlash with a follow-up tweet.

Following criticism over the transphobic tweets, Rowling published a lengthy essay on her personal website Wednesday in an apparent attempt to justify her views. In the essay, Rowling lists reasons why she’s worried about “the new trans activism.” Citing the work of several physicians and psychologists, she links an individual’s decision to transition with gender dysmorphia – an idea that many public health experts and LGBTQ+ activists say can make trans people feel their identities are invalidated by claims that they are “mentally ill.”

“The more of their accounts of gender dysphoria I’ve read, with their insightful descriptions of anxiety, dissociation, eating disorders, self-harm and self-hatred, the more I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition,” she wrote. “The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge. I struggled with severe OCD as a teenager. If I’d found community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment, I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred.”

Rowling also implied that trans-positive policies, such as allowing transgender people to use their preferred bathroom, could lead to assault. She wrote that, as a survivor of sexual assault, she believes “the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others” and that, “Trans people need and deserve protection.”

But in the following paragraph, she wrote, “At the same time, 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.”

As with Rowling’s Saturday tweets, many called out her essay as being bigoted and transphobic, as well as ill-timed while the world is focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Stars from the “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them” movies have also spoken out against Rowling's comments and emphasized their support of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Daniel Radcliffe wrote a compassionate statement released on Monday by The Trevor Project, an organization that is dedicated to suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LBGTQ+ youth.

Emma Watson and Eddie Redmayne also spoke out on Wednesday in support of transgender people after Rowling’s latest slew of comments. Watson wrote: “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.”

This isn’t the first time Rowling has faced blowback for anti-trans comments. In December 2019, she tweeted her support for Maya Forstater, a woman who was fired for expressing anti-trans sentiments.