Rumors that author J.K. Rowling (of the popular Harry Potter series) was a trans-exclusionary feminist circulated for years due to her comments and behavior on Twitter, culminating in a viral June 2019 Medium piece by Phalen Fairchild titled, “JK Rowling Confirms Stance Against Transgender Women.”
In it, Fairchild observed that Rowling had a history of excluding transgender people, citing the author’s tacit support for fellow trans-exclusionary radical feminists on social media platforms:
It’s been a long time coming, but finally we have a definitive answer. JK Rowling is a TERF [trans-exclusionary radical feminist].
There have been multiple instances wherein the (in)famous Harry Potter author demonstrated solidarity with radical feminists who have waged a vicious smear campaign against transgender women.
Once, she blamed liking anti-transgender statuses on Twitter as an error, dubbing it a “Clumsy and Middle-Aged Moment.” Despite fans catching the 53 year old in the act of putting her stamp of approval on trans hate once again, she thumbed her nose at the backlash.
At the time, a different site fact-checked the claims, finding them to be “false.” Despite Fairchild’s citation of instances in which Rowling quietly voiced support for trans-exclusionary feminists, the “analysis” determined:
It’s not clear what Rowling’s motivations or reasons were for the follows and likes highlighted by Fairchild and others, and it’s not clear what Rowling’s views are on trans issues. As such, the claim that she had “confirmed [her] stance against transgender women” was false on two grounds. First, Rowling had not herself made substantive public utterances about trans issues, so there was no clear “stance” to be confirmed, and second, even if there had been, Rowling’s following of Berns’ account in June 2019 would not constitute relevant reliable evidence, since it had several possible explanations.
On December 19 2019, Rowling herself explained her views about transgender people via Twitter, tweeting in support of Maya Forstater, a tax expert who was fired for questioning government plans to allow people to identify their own gender:
Ms Forstater was a visiting fellow at the Centre for Global Development (CGD), which is a think-tank based in London and Washington that campaigns against poverty.
She was accused of using “offensive and exclusionary” language on Twitter for saying “men cannot change into women”. Her legal dispute against her former employer was seen as a test on whether a “gender-critical” view — that there are only two biological sexes — was a protected philosophical belief under the 2010 Equality Act.
Judge James Tayler decided that Ms Forstater’s view was “incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others”. If Ms Forstater had won the case it would have legally prevented employers from dismissing staff for expressing their view on LGBT+ rights, her lawyers said.
In response, Rowling tweeted:
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?
In short, the claim that J.K. Rowling confirmed her stance that transgender women are not women was true — Rowling did so tacitly prior to the June 2019 article, but openly affirmed those views on December 19 2019.