June 8 (TheStraitsTimes) – British author J.K. Rowling is once again facing backlash for penning a series of tweets on June 6 that have been called transphobic by Twitter users, and “anti-trans” by American advocacy group GLAAD.
The criticism started after the author of the beloved Harry Potter series pointed out the use of the phrase “people who menstruate” in an op-ed article by Devex, a media platform for the global development community, titled Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.
“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” Rowling tweeted.
The Devex story outlines the “many gendered aspects of the pandemic”, including estimates that there are 1.8 billion girls, women and gender non-binary people who menstruate and “still require menstrual materials, safe access to toilets, soap, water, and private spaces in the face of lockdown living conditions that have eliminated privacy for many populations”.
While Rowling said she believed the headline should refer to women instead, Twitter users were quick to remind her that women are not the only people who menstruate.
“There are trans men and non-binary people who menstruate you absolute wilting head of lettuce,” said user Erica Lindbeck.
However, Rowling doubled down on her stance, writing: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
Rowling went on to claim she has been “empathetic to trans people for decades” and called accusations that she hates transgender people “nonsense”.
Another user Shannon Purser wrote: “You are embarrassing. The world is reckoning with white supremacy and police brutality and you’ve decided to use your massive platform to gender police? (Btw, gender and sex aren’t the same thing. Look it up.) Your books meant so much to me but you are disgraceful. Shame on you.”
American advocacy group GLAAD, which is dedicated to LGBTQ equality, called her comments “anti-trans”.
The organisation also said: “J.K. Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which wilfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans. In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people.”
The author also faced accusations of transphobia in December last year, after she expressed support for a British think tank researcher Maya Forstater – who lost her job over tweets in which she questioned whether trans women were women.