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Does JK Rowling Deserve ‘Canceled’ Status?

Anti-trans? Or misunderstood? Let’s discuss.

POSTEDBYDANNI TURNER

JK Rowling has had her fair share of controversy this year, notably beginning in June when she posted the questionable tweet, “People who menstruate.' I'm sure there used to be a word for those people, someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” Respectfully people were outraged, transgender rights activists especially. Singer-songwriter Mary Lambert wrote, “What the actual f**k??? This is so disgraceful, @jk_rowling. Of all the hills to die on, and for what reason? Trans women are women and they are fighting for their lives. When you push this trans exclusionary agenda, you make their lives infinitely more difficult. Shame on you.” Similar tweets urged the Harry Potter author to educate herself on transgender rights, and to consider the impact of her words, given her platform of 14m followers.  

In response to backlash, Rowling released an essay outlining her views on gender identity. In the near 3700-word piece Rowling gives “five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism.” Media outlets were quick to draw attention to the fifth, in which Rowling opens up about being a victim of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Expanding on this, she writes, “on Saturday morning, I read that the Scottish government is proceeding with its controversial gender recognition plans, which will in effect mean that all a man needs to ‘become a woman’ is to say he’s one. To use a very contemporary word, I was ‘triggered’.” The essay was met with mixed responses, as expected, with the most popular exemplifying cancel culture.   

Urges for Rowling to be ‘canceled’ have only increased, following the revelation that her most recent crime book, Troubled Blood (written under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith) features a male serial killer, who murders his victims whilst dressed as a woman.  Again, this was met with “anti-trans” backlash, with reviewers suggesting the book serves to demonize the transgender community whilst suggesting trans women are a threat. Rowling responded to accusations by explaining Dennis Creed (the killer in her latest Strike novel) was “loosely based on real-life killers Jerry Brudos and Russell Williams – both master manipulators who took trophies from their victims.” 

Photo illustration by Ivana Cruz

Given the context in which the book was published, it’s not looking great for Rowling, still, several publications have defended the attacks on her book/persona. Online magazine, Quillette, wrote, “As other critics have since pointed out, “never trust a man in a dress” is very much not the moral of the book, and the Creed character is never described as a transvestite, or transgender, or trans-anything, in fact. He never even wears a dress, but instead disguises himself in a feminine coat and wig when approaching one of his victims  (…) the only trans character to appear in the Cormoran Strike series (of which Troubled Blood is the latest installment) is a highly sympathetic and vulnerable young trans woman who plays a small role in The Silk Worm.” Still, up s**t creek and with celebrities calling her out left right and center, it seems this ‘cancel’ debate is far from over. 

Up Next, Let’s Keep Up The Momentum To Make Misogyny A Hate Crime In The UK. 

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