Trans Hollywood Reacts to J.K. Rowling’s Latest Anti-Trans Rant: ‘It Is Plain Old Bigotry’

The "Harry Potter" author has officially become the working definition of a "TERF."
J.K. Rowling attends the HBO Documentary Films premiere of "Finding the Way Home" at 30 Hudson Yards, in New YorkNY Premiere of HBO's "Finding the Way Home", New York, USA - 11 Dec 2019
J.K. Rowling
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

J.K. Rowling has completed her transformation into official poster child of TERFs, or “trans-exclusionary radical feminists.” The term has become a catch-all phrase for a narrow-minded concept of gender, touted by certain old-school feminists, such as Germaine Greer and now Rowling, that would rather preach “inherent biological differences in the sexes” than recognize someone’s humanity. The “Harry Potter” author has made her transphobic views known for years both in tweets and interviews, and recently penned a 4,000-word essay to her personal website expanding on her position. She published the essay following Daniel Radcliffe’s statement, posted to The Trevor Project website, which declared very plainly that “trans women are women” and denounced the author’s views.

Though they are no doubt exhausted and pained by yet another transphobic attack on their right to exist, prominent trans talent in Hollywood spoke out against Rowling’s statements. The most powerful of which may be Jen Richards, the Emmy-nominated writer of “Her Story” and star of HBO’s “Mrs. Fletcher.”

“The garden variety anti-trans bigotry that J.K. Rowling is spouting, and no matter how it’s disguised as feminism, biology, or common sense, it is plain old bigotry, is, quite frankly, boring. If she weren’t a famous and beloved author, it would just be more of the same from yet another wealthy white woman whose propensity for presenting entitlement as oppression make her a world class ‘Karen,'” Richards wrote, in a statement she provided to IndieWire before posting on Twitter.

Richards then astutely pointed out the poor timing of Rowling’s statement when the whole world is focused on the sweeping Black Lives Matter protests.

“No, what’s more disturbing to me is the choice to speak out against trans people at the very moment that the Black Lives Matter movement has taken the global centerstage,” she wrote. “The fear, ignorance, and callous cruelty underneath JK Rowling’s words are the very same factors that lead to the murder and systemic destruction of black trans lives. There’s a saying, ‘Scratch a TERF, find a racist,’ born out again and again by the ease with which people argue against the freedom and dignity of one group tend to feel the same about others.”

“I think she’s speaking from this place of just sheer stupidity,” “Pose” star Indya Moore told Variety. “I mean, it’s just so dumb. She’s not even understanding how much death and violence are behind all of those opinions that she’s sharing on social media right now. Like she’s contributing to so much violence through her airing out her thoughts and ideas and opinions. She’s contributing to a stigma that is continuing to take our lives today.”

“Words cannot describe how much I resent a billionaire cis-hetero author choosing not only #Pride month, but historic world-wide #BlackLivesMatter protests, to go on a TERF-centered anti-#trans children rant,” tweeted author Julia Serano (“We’ve Been Around”), while linking to countless essays she’s published debunking the “trans women are not women” arguments.

In addition to the protests around police murders of unarmed black people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others, the LGBTQ community is also mourning the murders of trans brothers and sisters Nina Pop and Tony McDade. Amidst the Minneapolis protests, a black trans woman named Iyanna Dior was beaten by a group of men.

“I just gave up because all I saw was us not having hope. What are we going to do? We’re going to die and people are just going to walk all over us and say, ‘Oh, well, they deserve it because of who they are,’” said Dominique Jackson, who plays Elektra on “Pose.”

“It seems J.K. is good at only one thing: writing fantasy. Her misinformed and dangerous missive about transgender people flies in the face of medical and psychological experts and devalues trans people accounts of their own lives. She is sowing divisiveness in a time when real leaders are driving toward unity,” read a GLAAD statement in response to Rowling’s “continued anti-trans rhetoric.”

“It’s really important to distance yourself away from anybody like that. They’re clearly stuck in a generational gap of an understanding of something, ” said MJ Rodriguez, who plays Blanca on “Pose.” “We’re in a different time and era.”

Richards concluded by relating to Rowling on her level, acknowledging all white women’s complicity in white supremacy:

“As a white woman, I understand J.K. Rowling. There is no TERF argument that I didn’t leverage against myself in the painful process of coming out and transitioning. But all white women have a choice right now: aggressively defend a narrow, exclusionary concept of womanhood that is fundamentally and irrevocably racist, or commit wholly to dismantling white supremacy. J.K. Rowling, like many white women, has chosen the former. It’s up to other white women, like myself, to use this moment to increate our commitment to the latter.”

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