The infamous J.K. Rowling has created much controversy this summer with her comments on transgender people, which many have described as transphobic.
The recent publishing of her new book “Troubled Blood” has once again caused outrage as it features a murderer who is discovered to be a man that dresses like a woman. Several people immediately took to Twitter to share their outrage at this discovery, and are once again calling for her to acknowledge that her statements are harmful, and not protecting as she claims them to be.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and someone that is transgender, I do find Rowling’s comments and recent actions to be transphobic. While she may view her comments as concerns spoken to protect vulnerable women, she does not realize that she is also perpetuating stereotypes that are damaging to transgender people. Namely, she has become outspoken on the topic of transition itself, and the dangers she fears will become present in public spaces.
In her statement published on June 10, 2020, Rowling stated: “I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex).”
Rowling has gone on to often tweet about detransitioning. However her tweets often promote this as a much larger phenomenon than it is. In a tweet posted on July 8, she tweeted: “We’re no more our scars than we’re our worst fears.” Twitter user @PhoenixBMeadows responded: “How about we also support trans people instead of using a teeny tiny percent who are valid and should be able to detransition to invalidate people who don’t”.
While some transgender people may choose to undergo transition surgeries, not all of them do. Some may choose to detransition, which is completely acceptable if they feel it is what is necessary for them. However, Rowling has used her platform to validate detransitioning and use it as a reason to invalidate transitioning in the first place.
Rowling also claimed in her statement that reading the accounts of young trans people today has made her question if she would have transitioned had she been born in today’s society. “The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge,” Rowling wrote, which is another incorrect assumption about the majority of trans individuals.
It is not a matter of escaping, but accepting a new role in society. Trans men are not trying to escape being women, which is what concerns Rowling. She has gone on to make many other claims in the last year regarding hormone therapy for young adults, and voiced her fears that trans women are simply men who wish to prey on women in their private spaces.
Which leads us back to the publishing of her new novel. Is it transphobic? Is making a murderer a man who dresses as a woman to prey on other women transphobic? It certainly aligns with Rowling’s views on trans women and concerns she has brought to light. While many will continue to attack her online, and others will defend her, she has the platform and resources to express her opinions regardless of backlash. No matter what people say or do on either side, it simply will not stop until there are no words left to be said.
I will continue to see these comments as transphobic, because they have been said to me and many other transgender people I know for years. They are the cowards defense to try and give reason to hate and discriminate against people just trying to live their lives safe and in the best ways possible. As long as people like J.K. Rowling continue to spread this hatred, others will push back to ensure the safety and security of the transgender community, and the LGBTQ+ community at large.