Transphobic Comments By Author JK Rowling Has Made Fans Feel Unsafe

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By James Maloney

 

In the last two years, transgender women have been a sole target in attacks Puerto Rico, in a two year span 12 transgender victims were murdered, most of them being transgender women. This is a continuous occurrence and has no signs of stopping anytime soon.

The transgender community is the most attacked community in the LGBTQ+ bubble, with attacks from people are not a part of it to being made to feel like they don’t belong by people in their own community. It is disheartening.

British author JK Rowling, who most famously penned the Harry Potter book series, has come under fire as she made a series of tweets disregarding the transgender community, specifically targeting transgender women, and causing a lot of comments of people disagreeing on her opinions.

The authors tweets have been condemed by the LGBTQ+ community for transphobia.

For the last 24 years, Harry Potter has captured the hearts and lives of millions of people, sucking them in to a universe of magic and wonder. It has and still is one of the most well known and most famous book and movie franchise in the world.

JK Rowling, the author of the books wrote and published the first of the series ‘Philosophers Stone’ back in 1997, and by the time the first movie came out in 2001, she had already completed two more books from the franchise, ‘Chamber of Secrets’ and ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’.

Over the years the whole world sat in anticipation waiting for the new books and movies with the final book was published in 2007 and the final movie ‘Deathly Hallows pt 2’ was released in 2011.

Even years after the books and movies were released, fans of the franchise continue to love and adore the series a whole 10 years later.

There have been a few other movies added to the franchise, such as ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and the two-part play ‘The Cursed Child’ which was then brought to the West End in 2016.

The well known and loved Gryffindor scarf and iconic Harry Potter glasses

Over the course of the last year however, JK Rowling came into a lot of controversy on Twitter, when she made a transphobic comment about transgender men and women. Many people thought that it was a badly worded tweet where she did not mean to invalidate the identities of transgender individuals, but over time it was made clear where she stood in terms of supporting the trans community.

She came forward with a tweet in an attempted comical way when talking about people who menstruate, saying how “there used to be a word for those people. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

This caused a lot of backlash for Rowling as she implied it is only women who can menstruate, when in reality there are transgender men who can and are still facing menstruation and transgender women cannot.

However, those who identify as non-binary or other gender identities may menstruate normally, and some women may not menstruate at all due to personal or medical reasons, this does not make them less of a woman as menstruating is not just for women.  As anyone can or have menstruated in the past.

She then continued to write more hatred towards transgender people and completely disregarding the fact that gender and sex are two completely different things.

She had tweeted that:

“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 hating to speak the truth”

Since these tweets, many trans people, other members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies have turned against the wellknown author and felt like they could not use the Harry Potter universe as a safe place, when the woman who created it has spread tweets disregarding the identity of trans men and women and who they are.

Many people used the Harry Potter universe as a safe haven to get away from the struggles of teenage and adult life, for some people it has been a part of their lives since the very beginning, when they waited in anticipation for the movies to release or for the new book to publish, and for them to feel like they do not belong to a franchise run by someone who disregarded their entire existence. It is heartbreaking.

 

Transgender ally art. Support for the community

I spoke with Holly McMenemy, 19 who has been a huge fan of the Harry Potter franchise for years and always idolised Rowling and her work, she is also a part of the LGBTQ+ community and is fully supportive towards the transgender community.

She said:

“When I found out that JK Rowling was transphobic, I didn’t want it to be true. I had idolised her my entire life, and found so much comfort in her work that it became a safe place for me. However, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I don’t feel safe anymore.

“I think this has had a major effect on transgender and non-binary fans. To be essentially banished from a world that is meant to include and celebrate everyone and their differences is heartbreaking.

“I think it’s amazing that members of the cast have come forward and actively shown their support for the trans community. It shows you that even though JK Rowling has her own discriminatory beliefs, there is still some part of the Harry Potter world that is a safe place for people within the community”

Many people wondered what the actors of the movies thought about these recent tweets, preferably wanting to hear from ‘The Golden Trio’ Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe who played Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter in the movies.

Emma Watson – Hermione Granger

Emma Watson is well known for her role as Hermione Granger and since then has been a active feminist activist and has worked closely to assure that the equality of women is put in motion. She has also recently shown her support to the transgender community in the past.

She spoke out on twitter to show her support, tweeting that:

“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 are

“I want my trans followers to know that I and so many others around the world see you, respect you and love you”

Rupert Grint – Ron Weasley

Rupert Grint has also spoken out against Rowling saying that he still has respect for her and her work but also agrees that you can disagree with someone’s views despite respecting them.

He said:

“I firmly stand with the trans community

“Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgement”

Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter

Radcliffe’s career, along with the careers of his co-workers, really took off when he starred in Harry Potter, and many people would say he owes everything to JK Rowling for his life taking the path that it has.

Daniel came forward and spoke up on the issue also, he mentioned that he is trying his best to be a better ally for the LGBTQ+ community and that he feels it is right for him to speak up on the matter.

He stated in his post that:

“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 healthcare associations.”

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/2020/06/08/daniel-radcliffe-responds-to-j-k-rowlings-tweets-on-gender-identity/

The three actors and more of the cast including, Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley),  Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Katie Leung (Cho Chang) and Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley) all spoke out and showed their support for the transgender community and reminded them that they are loved, valid and appreciated. The stars also said how they understand that the franchise may now not feel as safe for many but they reminded them that the Harry Potter movies will always be a place of love for them.

I also spoke with Katie Marie, 21 who also had been a huge fan of the franchise in the past, and always found it to be a safe place for many people.

“I didn’t burn my books or throw away the movies, but I did allow them to collect dust on my shelves and didn’t want to acknowledge their existence. Once I heard about Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint speak out against the author and make it know they did not share the same beliefs it gave me the magical spark back”

Many people have detached themselves from the fandom due to the comments of JK Rowling, but many have stayed and have detached her from the franchise, as the Harry Potter universe has and always will be a place for love and equality and everyone is just as loved as the next person, without fear of being subjected to judgement for simply being who they are.

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