J. K. Rowling at the Broadway opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. (Getty)
Hurt JK Rowling fans have been given sage advice on how to approach the Harry Potter series after the author backed a woman whose anti-trans views were ruled “absolutist.”
Rowling was accused of “transphobia” after she voiced her support for Maya Forstater, a cis woman who lost a legal bid to have her “gender-critical views” recognised as a protected belief under the Equality Act.
The author said that she stood with Forstater, questioning why women should be “force[d] out of their jobs for stating that sex is real.”
Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019
Forstater had worked as a researcher at a think tank, but did not have her contract renewed after tweeting her opposition to proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.
Her belief that “even if a trans woman has a Gender Recognition Certificate, she cannot honestly describe herself as a woman” was ruled “not worthy of respect in a democratic society” by an employment tribunal judge.
Rowling’s support for Forstater upset countless LGBT+ fan who have previously found solace in the Harry Potter books.
I grew up as a trans child reading your books as an escape. I would often pick out names from characters to give to myself, before I ever felt comfortable in who I was. This decision, to support people that hate me, and want to do me harm. It brings me to tears… Why. Why?
— Lily is entering unprecedented levels of lethargy (@notafootstool) December 19, 2019
An open letter to @jk_rowling:
I grew up reading your books. I have a Harry Potter tattoo (planned to get more). It helped me through dark times, hard times, and seemingly impossible times. I found comfort and solace in the pages.
And it turns out you’re just a bigot too.
— olive (@HolyOlieMoly) December 19, 2019
as a trans person, and as a massive harry potter fan, I was truly heartbroken over jk rowling’s statement. although, I am not in the least bit surprised. it sucks to see the creator of a thing you passionately love invalidate your entire existence. being a trans person of color
— KB 🛹🎥 (Night Loner Film Reviews) (@k_swizzle11) December 20, 2019
Harry Potter fans told their love ‘is still valid.’
Writer Laura Shortridge-Scott advised Potter fans to try to separate the art from the author if they wanted to continue enjoying the series.
“Your love for the books is still valid,” she said.
“The books don’t have transphobic themes & the newer stuff has been trash for ages.
“It’s also OK if you want nothing to with the books anymore.”
She also recommend the late fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett as an inclusive alternative, pointing to the Discworld character Cheri Littlebottom.
In Pratchett’s series, Littlebottom is a woman dwarf who breaks from the tradition of her kind all presenting as male, regardless of gender.
She begins presenting as a woman and starts using she/her pronouns, in what is widely read as an allegory for the trans experience.
JK Rowling fans that feel hurt and betrayed, 2 things.
1) Your love for the books is still valid. The books don’t have transphobic themes & the newer stuff has been trash for ages. It’s also OK if you want nothing to with the books anymore.
2) Can I recommend Terry Pratchett.
— 🎄Laura Shortridge-Scott jingles all the way🎄 (@DiscordianKitty) December 19, 2019
Queer screenwriter Ashly Perez also had some wisdom directly from the books to share for “heartbroken trans Harry Potter fans.”
“Remember what Hagrid said after being outed as half-giant,” she wrote.
“‘I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed. ‘Never be ashamed,’ my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.””
And for heartbroken trans Harry Potter fans,
Remember what Hagrid said after being outed as half-giant: I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed. ‘Never be ashamed,’ my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with’
— Ashly Perez (@itsashlyperez) December 19, 2019
GLAAD has publicly condemned Rowling, saying that the views held by Forstater “put trans people at risk.”
“J.K. Rowling, whose books gave kids hope that they could work together to create a better world, has now aligned herself with an anti-science ideology that denies the basic humanity of people who are transgender,” Anthony Ramos, GLAAD’s head of talent, told Variety.
“Trans men, trans women and non-binary people are not a threat, and to imply otherwise puts trans people at risk. Now is the time for allies who know and support trans people to speak up and support their fundamental right to be treated equally and fairly.”
Rowling’s representatives declined to comment on this story when approached by PinkNews.