‘Harry Potter’ Fan Groups Take United Stand Against J.K. Rowling’s Transphobic Views
The fallout over J.K. Rowling’s transphobia continued this week as two major “Harry Potter” fan groups made explicit efforts to distance themselves from the author’s views.
On Thursday, GLAAD announced it had been working with MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron behind the scenes over how to respond to Rowling’s headline-making comments about transgender rights.
That same day, both groups issued a joint statement condemning Rowling’s beliefs while doubling down on their commitment to serve as safe spaces for readers regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
“As this fandom enters its third decade, J.K. Rowling has chosen this time to loudly pronounce harmful and disproven beliefs about what it means to be a transgender person,” the statement read. “In addition to the distaste we feel for her choice to publish these statements during Pride Month — as well as during a global reckoning on racial injustice — we find the use of her influence and privilege to target marginalized people to be out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books and celebrated by the Harry Potter community.”
To better serve their diverse fan base, both groups will no longer report on Rowling’s personal life, or host links to purchase her work unrelated to the “Harry Potter” franchise. They’ll also refer to the author only as #JKR so that fans can mute the hashtag.
“Our stance is firm: Transgender women are women,” the statement continued. “Transgender men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. Intersex people exist and should not be forced to live in the binary.”
Combined, MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron have more than 1 million Facebook followers, and around 474,000 Twitter followers.
Their statement comes a little less than a month after Rowling angered fans with a series of tweets in which she implied that the very idea of gender identity invalidates her experience as a cisgender woman.
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” she tweeted. “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 tweets drew immediate backlash from fans as well as “Harry Potter” actors Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. Meanwhile, Daniel Radcliffe put the author on notice in an essay for The Trevor Project, an advocacy group for at-risk LGBTQ youth.
Rowling, however, didn’t back down. Instead, she defended her stance in a 3,600-word essay, and said her experience as a survivor of sexual assault influenced her views.
“When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman ― and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones ― then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside,” she wrote. “That is the simple truth.”
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