JK Rowling has once again come under harsh criticism for her transphobic tweet that she put out on account of celebrating International Women’s Day.

JK Rowling Called ‘TERF’ For ‘Transphobic’ Women’s Day Tweet, Here’s What It Means
JK Rowling AP
JK Rowling has once again come under harsh criticism for her transphobic tweet that she put out on account of celebrating International Women’s Day.

Author JK Rowling who is known for her Harry Potter series came under fire from netizens yesterday after putting out a transphobic comment on International Women’s Day. Her tweet came as a response to the Scotland government’s move to ratify the ease of changing gender legally. Her tweet faced severe backlash from several Twitter users who called her out for pushing forth transphobic tweets on a day that celebrates gender equality.

Taking to the microblogging site, the author tweeted, “Apparently, under a Labour government, today will become We Who Must Not Be Named Day”. The tweet was a reference to Labour Equalities minister Annalise Dodds’ response to the question “How do you define a woman”.

Rowling’s tweets have garnered the usual backlash. This, however, is not the first time.

In the past, in 2020, she was criticized by many of her fans as well as others for tweeting controversial ideas regarding who should be a woman and gendering/de-gendering rapists when the Scotland police announced that they were going to log women as rapists as well. While some users jumped to Rowling’s defense by agreeing with her and sharing their views of how their sexual abusers had transitioned and had not been held accountable since, some fans pointed out the difference between holding an abuser accountable versus respecting the gender of the individual opposite to you. They also claimed that given her tweets came during the time of Pride Month in June, she was not just targeting the marginalized communities whose efforts should be celebrated in that month, but she was also sharing misinformation as well as was abusing her position of power and influence as a cis-gender woman when she sent out ambiguous tweets about trans people.

She has since then been termed as a Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist (TERF), an identity that she was quick to defend herself against by sharing her own personal stories about her abuse as well as her love for all the trans people she knows and the efforts they put in every day to be treated as equals. While feminism is usually understood as espousing rights and equality of all genders as well as considering intersections of gender and other factors like caste, class, religion and more, trans-exclusionary radical feminists like Rowling are often at loggerheads with the trans and LGBTQIA community and look at feminism as solely a domain of women’s rights activism. It is opposed to the idea of inclusionary and intersectional feminism that was preached by the likes of Angela Davis and Bell Hooks. The radical ‘TERF’ feminist philosophy however differentiates between women and transwomen on biological definitions and advocates treating only biological women as vulnerable or part of the feminist movement.

Rowling’s rather controversial tweets have also raised the famous debate of ‘art vs the artist’ wherein loving a controversial artist’s work can be seen as problematic. Many of her fans have distanced themselves from her works, including the franchise series Fantastic Beasts which she has written the screenplay for. They believe her exclusionary, controversial, and harmful tweets remove the idea of comfort and inclusion that is fostered deep within the Harry Potter Universe. Many have also taken offence to her statement of claiming that Dumbeldore, from the Harry Potter series, was always a homosexual man and has continued to build on the same in the Fantastic Beasts series. Those who took offence to her above statement pointed out that the seven-part Harry Potter series nowhere alludes to Albus Dumbeldore being homosexual and her claiming otherwise seems merely revisionist in foresight with an attempt to get on the bandwagon of relevancy.