What J.K. Rowling Has Said About Transgender People — And Why She's Now Getting Death Threats On Twitter

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JK Rowling

J.K. Rowling is hitting back after receiving death threats online. The “Harry Potter” author claimed that the abuse is from trans activists as she continued her criticisms of the trans rights movement.

In the recent tweet, she shares a screenshot of someone who wrote, “I wish you a very nice pipebomb in mailbox.”

The author has been relentless in her criticisms of trans activism in recent years, which has generated her plenty of hate online leading her to be accused of transphobia.

What did J.K. Rowling say about transgender people?

Rowling’s past comments, largely labeled as transphobic, have been sharply criticized by former fans and activists.

Here's a look at the history of Rowling's anti-trans comments.

In 2019, J.K. Rowling defended an anti-trans researcher.

In December 2019, Rowling received backlash after tweeting her support for Maya Forstater, a UK researcher who lost her job after making what she called “gender critical views” about trans people.

Forstater lost a discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, with a court accusing her of holding anti-trans views.

“It is also a slight of hand to suggest that the claimant merely does not hold the belief that trans women are women,” the court ruled. “She positively believes that they are men and will say so whenever she wishes.”

Rowling took to Twitter after the ruling to express her support for Forstater and condemned the ruling.

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In 2020, Rowling refuted the idea that "sex isn’t real."

On June 6, 2020, Rowling shared an op-ed piece about “people who menstruate” on Twitter, appearing to take issue with the gender-neutral term and hinting that the piece should have used the word “women” instead.

“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she wrote.

Of course, the use of the word “people” is intended to integrate trans men and non-binary people who menstruate.

As backlash ensued, Rowling doubled down on her statements, rejecting the idea that sex is a social construct.

“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,” she tweeted.

Rowling then said she’s "worried" about trans activism.

Rowling continued her controversial comments in a lengthy blog post on June 10, which she promoted by tweeting the link alongside the caption, “TERF wars.”

TERF is an acronym that stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

In the blog, Rowling once again showed support for Forstater and then outlined “five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism,” expressing concerns about the loss of “single-sex spaces.”

Members of the "Harry Potter" cast responded by criticizing Rowling’s anti-trans comments.

While fans and critics responded with outrage online, several members of the “Harry Potter” cast distanced themselves from the author.

Daniel Radcliffe released a statement via the Trevor Project writing, “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished. I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you.”

Emma Watson, who played Hermione Grainger in the film series, extended her support to the transgender community as well.

"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 say they are," Watson wrote on Twitter. "I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are."

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Rowling continued to condemn trans activism.

In July 2020, Rowling went on another tear on Twitter about puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and detransitioners.

Over the course of an 11-tweet thread, she compared supports for people transition to “conversion therapy” and lamented the “health risks of cross-sex hormones.”

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Rowling’s book, "Troubled Blood," was soon labeled transphobic.

In September 2020, the release of Rowling’s book, “Troubled Blood,” added fuel to this backlash, as it was criticized by trans and non-binary authors for its portrayal of a cross-dressing villain. 

The book is about a serial killer who preys on women by dressing up in feminine clothing, which some feared was meant to target the trans community.

To her critics, Rowling appeared to play into the misrepresentation of trans women as men in women’s clothing waiting to take advantage of other women.

The book does not explicitly mention the term "transgender" or any of the associated language, and the killer is portrayed as a cisgender man.

In 2021, Stephen King said Rowling blocked him after he criticized her anti-trans views.

Author Stephen King claimed Rowling blocked him after he criticized her in a tweet the previous year.

He had tweeted that he believes his fellow author was “wrong about trans women.”

“Someone tweeted at me, ‘Do you think trans women are women?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I do.’ And that’s what she got angry about—my opinion,” said King in an interview about the alleged blocking.

Now, Rowling has shared death threats she received for making these anti-trans comments.

In July 2021, Rowling shared the death threat she had received and accused “trans activists” of making similar comments.

When asked if the hate comment was in response to her views on the trans community, Rowling wrote:

“Yes, but now hundreds of trans activists have threatened to beat, rape, assassinate and bomb me I’ve realized that this movement poses no risk to women whatsoever.”

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.