Twitter is once again blowing up, and it’s blowing up because of JK Rowling.
Things have been pretty tense among trans activists lately. First a parade expressing support for the pro-trans Scottish “Gender ID” bill was marred by a participant who held a “Decapitate TERFs” sign above two pro-trans-rights Scottish MPs’ heads.
The whole affair didn’t really send a GREAT message about trans rights, frankly. Especially when the person holding it was wearing Jeffrey Dahmer glasses and giving a creepy, cold dead stare.
Then India Willoughby, a trans woman broadcaster for ITV’s Good Morning Britain, tweeted out “I’m more of a woman than JK Rowling will ever be.”
JK Rowling responded rather icily: “Citation needed.”
And JK Rowling had a point. When it comes to the lived female experience, Rowling has been through the mill. She is a rape survivor and was an impoverished single mom for years. She was borderline homeless and described spending her days in a cafe to keep warm with her daughter sleeping on the seat beside her. It was in this cafe that she started writing the Harry Potter books.
India Willoughby was born in 1965 and enjoyed male privilege throughout the 70s and 80s and 90s and the early 00s before transitioning at the age of 45. She even managed to have a biological son through a nifty trick: she stuck her penis inside another woman and let that woman go through the life-risking pain of childbirth.
That sounds so awesome! I bet JK Rowling, who is so much less the woman that India Willoughby is, wish she had the capacity to do that. Unfortunately Rowling had to do the whole pregnancy and childbirth thing HERSELF with her three children because Rowling is, you know, so much less of a woman than India Willoughby.
Anyway the reaction to JK Rowling’s tweet was predictable. TERFs applauded her. Trans rights activists talked about how the noisy women who disagreed with be-penised people needed to shut her mouth.
A few people noticed, however, that JK Rowling had altered India Willoughby’s tweet before re-posting the screenshot on her own account.
TW: The commenter’s handle is upsetting.
As you can see, when JK Rowling screenshot India Willoughby’s tweet, Rowling took care to erase the tweet Willoughby was responding to.
Here’s the thing. JK Rowling hid the original tweet India Willoughby was responding to because the original tweet was a transphobic attack on India Willoughby.
JK Rowling did not want to use her platform to promote that transphobic tweet misgendering India Willoughby.
Because JK Rowling is not transphobic.
Yes, you heard me. JK Rowling is not transphobic.
JK Rowling has never deadnamed any trans person. JK Rowling has never misgendered any trans person. JK Rowling has never promoted violence against trans people.
JK Rowling is not transphobic. JK Rowling merely has a common sense, nuanced approach on trans rights, and she stands with the majority of people when it comes to neither wishing harm on trans people nor wishing to eradicate the concept of gender altogether regardless of cost. Natalie Jackson described it in her article on a PRRI survey about trans rights. Yet in that same survey from PRRI, we found that a considerable share of Americans held seemingly opposing views. Forty-six percent of Americans, for instance, said they both supported general nondiscrimination protections and opposed allowing transgender girls to participate in girls’ sports. Meanwhile, 37 percent supported nondiscrimination protections and opposed allowing transgender boys to participate in boys’ sports. Finally, 36 percent supported nondiscrimination protections and supported bathroom bills requiring transgender people to use the bathroom of their sex assigned at birth.
Herein lies the danger in the trans rights’ tactic of “Do everything we say or be labeled a killer of trans kids forever.” It dishonestly tars people with justifiable hesitancies about very niche aspects of the trans experience (public bathrooms, women’s sports, lesbian preferences) when overall these same people very much support nondiscrimination policies for trans people.
According to the current line being repeated by trans activists, if you believe that trans people should not be discriminated against in terms of jobs and housing but you also believe that women should not be forced to compete against AMAB trans athletes in sports, you are no different then people who literally kill trans folk.
The slightest amount of dissent from the mostly AMAB trans folk-dominated discussion brands you a TERF for eternity.
Hell, Mark Hamill couldn’t even “like” a JK Rowling tweet on Twitter without people dogpiling him and swearing off Star Wars? This shit is getting ridiculous.
You can respect the rights and dignity of trans people and ALSO put firm barriers when the rights of trans people start to infringe on the rights of women.
That is where JK Rowling and many, many women like her stand.
That is why JK Rowling refused to platform a transphobic attack against India Willoughby and- at the same time- stood against Willoughby when Willoughby attacked Rowling.
Rowling does not want to dehumanize trans people, and Rowling does not want trans people to dehumanize women.
Which is fair. JK Rowling has stood against the far right and she has stood against the misogyny of the very loud trans activists. Rowling has received death threats and rape threats and has literally had her own name erased from her life’s work as a result. But she has stood firm in her belief. She will not let people bully her into silence.
That does not make her transphobic. That makes her admirable.