For those of you who don't know, J.K. Rowling has been in the news lately over some comments she made about transgendered people on twitter. The tweets came seemingly out of nowhere, which is strange, but what's even stranger is that the concept of a person's gender not fitting into a neat, little, explainable box seems to have broken her brain...
The "truth" that J.K. is talking about isn't a truth- it's nonsense. Trans people exist. Trans people deserve to be recognized. Trans people are who they say they are. Sex (gender) is real and much like orientation it exists on a spectrum. To suggest otherwise is dangerous. It's harmful to trans people and it's detrimental towards their quest for equality. It emboldens those who don't understand to speak ignorantly and act irresponsibly. People are erasing the notion that sex is binary, J.K., because it's not.
I can't even imagine what it must be like to live in a world where people constantly question your existence. Imagine hearing that? That you don't exist. That you're playing a part. That the very fabric of your being is something that can and needs to be fixed. That simply by being you, you're hurting someone's ability to be them. It's insane to think that people actually have to live with that stress.
Luckily the entire internet felt the same way:
Even Daniel Radcliffe wrote a post on The Trevor Project website denouncing her tweets. Here's an excerpt:
"Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm."
To make matters worse, J.K. doubled down on her takes in a lengthy blog posted to her website which some people are calling a 'transphobic manifesto.'..
In it she lays out five reasons for why she's 'worried about trans activism'…
In the blog post, Rowling states that she has "five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism, and deciding I need to speak up." Among these reasons, she mentions her charity for women and children, being an ex-teacher, her interest in free speech, a concern about "the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition" and her experience as a victim of sexual and domestic abuse.
While mentioning the increase in young people coming out as transgender, Rowling questions whether there's a "contagion" fueled by social media that's behind the rise, at one point stating, "I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition."
She also brought up the oldest, tiredest, argument in the book when it comes to trans people- bathroom usage…
"So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. 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. That is the simple truth," she wrote.
The whole thing is just very strange. Like why would this be the hill that J.K Rowling dies on? The woman has $650 million and she's spending her spare time tearing down one of the most vulnerable groups of people on the planet. It's not the first time she's done it either. Hopefully she comes around and learns from this experience, but chances are she won't. You don't double down on this kind of stuff unless you're truly a lunatic.
The last thing I'll say is that if you don't understand something, listen. Don't speak, just listen. Kate made a great point in her blog a while back about punching down and I feel like that happens a lot in the trans community. People make fun of them because they don't understand them. Even jokes that you don't think are jokes can be incredibly harmful. So let's all think before we speak and lift up those around us. Life's too short to be an asshole.