Author J.K. Rowling admitted that she knew her comments about the trans community would land “like a hand grenade” — but she said that she was so “angry” she pushed ahead anyway.
The “Harry Potter” creator has been working through her comments and the backlash she has received on a serial podcast titled “The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling,” and she said on episode five that the real firestorm began in 2020 while the world was still reeling from the impact of the COVID pandemic.
What set Rowling off initially, she said, was an article she saw on Twitter titled “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate” — and she said that she saw in that one headline a concerted effort within the trans community to erase everything that made biological women unique.
“I’m coming to that article on the background of what I see as huge injustice and people trying to shut women down … So I was angry, and I was flippant,” Rowling explained, saying that was the reason for the tweet she posted in response.
“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she tweeted at the time, adding that she knew there would be backlash — that it would be “like dropping a hand grenade into Twitter.”
“Did I mean to drop a hand grenade in? No. I was just keeping a rein on my own fury. So off it went,” she continued.
And once the ball started rolling, the author said that she kept on tweeting: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. 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.”
Rowling went on to say that she was used to attacks, noting that because the “Harry Potter” series embraced a world of wizardry and witchcraft she had faced some backlash from certain religious elements – but she said the attacks from the left “hit differently … because I would assume we share certain values.”
“But at the same time, I have to tell you, a ton of Potter fans were still with me. And in fact, a ton of Potter fans were grateful that I’d said what I said,” Rowling continued, adding, “I stand by every word that I wrote there, but the question is, What is the truth? And I’m arguing against people who are literally saying sex is a construct, [that] it’s not real.”
Rowling later addressed the people who advocate for radical gender theory — particularly those who advocate for it but refuse to debate the ideology on its merits — and said that she absolutely believed there was “something dangerous about this movement and it must be challenged.”
“My position is that this activists’ movement, in the form that it’s currently taking, echoes the very thing that I was warning against in Harry Potter,” she said.