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J.K. Rowling

Author

Expressed support for a tax specialist who had sent anti-transgender tweets, and claims her employment contract was not renewed because of it. Rowling tweeted: “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.”

—Sent tweets falsely claiming transgender identity is a threat: “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.”

—Mocked the phrase “people who menstruate,” tweeting, “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Liked a tweet that disparaged transgender women as “men in dresses” by the late anti-trans YouTuber Magdaelen Berns. Berns’ tweet read: “I was shouted at by men at my first Labour Party meeting aged 18 because I asked them to remove a Page 3 calendar. I’ve been told to be louder, stronger, independent. I’ve often not felt supported. Men in dresses get brocialist solidarity I never had. that’s misogyny!” Rowling representatives blamed the “like” on a “clumsy and middle-aged moment.”

—Wrote essay about transgender people and identity that laid out “five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism,” claiming that as “an ex-teacher and the founder of a children’s charity,” she has “deep concerns about the effect the trans rights movement is having on both.” Rowling claimed there has been a “huge explosion in young women wishing to transition” or are “detransitioning.” Population research shows growth overall of young people identifying as LGBT, in all categories of the acronym. Scientific research shows detransitioning to be rare and that other factors around regret of transition including rejection and discrimination play a significant role. The stars of the Harry Potter franchise distanced themselves from Rowling's views: “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.” One of the largest Harry Potter fan sites also issued a statement of unequivocal supporting for transgender people, values of diversity and inclusion, and rejected Rowling's harmful and disproven theories about transgender people. 

—Tweeted false information equating trans-related medical care with mental health care, writing: “Many health professionals are concerned that young people struggling with their mental health are being shunted towards hormones and surgery when this may not be in their best interests.” In the same thread, falsely equated transitioning with a “new form of conversion therapy for young gay people” and suggested that gender transition is “driven by homophobia.”

—Authored the book Troubled Blood under the pen name Robert Galbraith in 2020, about a cisgender male serial killer who dresses as a woman to lure victims. A review in The Telegraph said the book’s “moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress.” Another book in Rowling’s crime series, 2014’s The Silkworm, featured a transgender suspect. In response, the UK trans children’s advocacy group Mermaids gave the following statement to CNN: “This is a long-standing and somewhat tired trope, responsible for the demonization of a small group of people, simply hoping to live their lives with dignity. We are disappointed to hear that the author might be propagating the same, long-standing and hurtful presentation of trans women as a threat. As a children's charity, we are bearing witness to the very real hurt felt by young people who once saw Ms. Rowling's fiction as a place of comfort, friendship and escape. The author recently expressed support for trans people's right to live free from persecution. Her latest book might cause those still enjoying her books to question that sentiment.”

Announced in August 2020 that she would return an award she had previously received from the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group after the organization condemned her recent transphobic statements. In a post that month, Kerry Kennedy, the group’s president, wrote: “I have spoken with J.K. Rowling to express my profound disappointment that she has chosen to use her remarkable gifts to create a narrative that diminishes the identity of trans and nonbinary people, undermining the validity and integrity of the entire transgender community—one that disproportionately suffers from violence, discrimination, harassment, and exclusion and, as a result, experiences high rates of suicide, suicide attempts, homelessness, and mental and bodily harm. Black trans women and trans youth in particular are targeted...Trans rights are human rights. J.K. Rowling’s attacks upon the transgender community are inconsistent with the fundamental beliefs and values of RFK Human Rights and represent a repudiation of my father’s vision.”

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The GLAAD Accountability Project catalogs anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and discriminatory actions of politicians, commentators, organization heads, religious leaders, and legal figures, who have used their platforms, influence and power to spread misinformation and harm LGBTQ people.

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