Author of the Harry Potter book series J.K. Rowling has been accused of being transphobic after a tweet that critics claim not only excludes transgender women, but also women who do not get their periods. 

On June 6, Rowling linked an article from Devex about creating equality after the coronavirus pandemic. Devex describes itself as a platform used to discuss global development. Rowling said, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud? Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”

Many took to Twitter in order to criticize Rowling and shared their disappointment in the author of such an influential series. 

Twitter user @Scary_Library responded to Rowlings tweet and said, “I decided not to kill myself because I wanted to know how Harry’s story ended. For a long time, that was all that kept me alive. Until I met my husband who helped me learn to love myself and to want to live. You just insulted him to my face. I hate you.”

Singer Mary Lambert criticized Rowling for misusing her influence. She tweeted, “What the actual fuck??? This is so disgraceful, @jk_rowling. Of all the hills to die on, and for what reason? Trans women are women and they are fighting for their lives. When you push this trans exclusionary agenda, you make their lives infinitely more difficult. Shame on you.”

She later added, “You have power and influence. Why would you do this? What does it achieve? Do you feel like more of a woman when you punch down? Are you threatened? Some trans men menstruate. Why does that affect you? Why do you want to police that?”

Later that day, Rowling responded to the backlash she received with a long Twitter thread. It read, “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.”

“The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is a nonsense.”

“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”

In 2017, Rowling was called out for being transphobic when she liked an article on Twitter that referred to transgender women as “men in dresses.” 

In the past Rowling had been praised for revealing that a main character in the Harry Potter series was gay, Albus Dumbledore. However, many still questioned her support of the LGBTQ community by saying that both the book and movie series were not open about the character’s sexuality. 

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