‘TERF’ JK Rowling being a transphobic, queer-baiting ‘Karen’ during Pride Month is best ignored

Rowling is racist and homophobic in a way a lot of cis-gendered, heterosexual white women are --- by being oblivious to realities other than their own


                            ‘TERF’ JK Rowling being a transphobic, queer-baiting ‘Karen’ during Pride Month is best ignored
J. K. Rowling (Getty)

For years, J. K. Rowling has slowly been eroding the goodwill she generated by authoring the world's most popular youth fantasy series. In it, she wrote about the discrimination against "Mudbloods" for not being "true" wizards. The books also gave us Hermoine, she of the unkempt hair and unlimited smarts. So much so, that Emma Watson, who played Hermoine, segued into her role as a global feminist icon with ease, building on the existing goodwill for her character. Currently, there is a whole generation of millennials who grew up reading 'Harry Potter', who embrace the very values the books, on the surface, espouse -- values like equality, embracing diversity and feminism.

Further boosting the book's appeal are the countless queer readings into her very heterosexual (and some would say racist) text that she has retroactively tried to 'rainbow-fy' and make more inclusive -- from declaring Dumbledore to be gay to suggesting that Hermoine could be black. But her retcons have only left a sour taste because it highlights the fact that there were no explicitly black main characters or gay characters (or relationships) described in the original books. The explicitly non-white characters like Cho Chang, Parvati Patil, Lee Jordan, Dean Thomas, and Angelina Johnson, were all peripheral characters. Nagini, who some would call a central character, was an Asian lady who turned into a pet i.e., became non-human or sub-human. And let's not go into the goblins (again non-humans) fitting the slurs typically aimed at Jewish people -- from hooked noses to love of money. She might have just as well called them Shylocks and be done with it.

Even post her 2007 "Dumbledore is gay" retconning, the 'Fantastic Beasts' movie series for which she wrote the screenplay did not go into his orientation or his relationship with Grindelwald and their supposed passionate, intense love affair. Fans have had to fall back on subtext and Rowling's opportunistic tweeting and interviews to 'construct' queer interpretations. So much so that fans have labeled efforts to stay relevant as queer-baiting. Thus, Rowling's writing has always been problematic, despite her surface woke-ism.

In her politics as well, she has projected a liberal progressive face -- like supporting the Labour party, supporting abortion rights, to expressing support to refugees to her work around human rights for Amnesty International. She has also said that she is an LGBTQ ally and 'Black Lives Matter' ally. However, her comments about 'BLM' didn't really get that much attention.

So what does she do? A week into Pride month, she linked to an article about "people who menstruate" and added her transphobic commentary, saying: "'People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?" When her tweet trended with Twitter users calling her out for being a 'TERF', she doubled down, remarking: "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."

This is not the first time Rowling has shown her TERF colors. Her novels have had transphobic passages, she has liked tweets of TERF activists and supported TERF activists like Maya Forstater. Her logic seems to belong to the same genre as straight couples protesting that gay marriages threatened the "sanctity" of their heterosexual unions and the concept of family. Rowling seems to think that recognizing transwomen as women similarly will threaten the "sanctity" of womanhood and that transwomen are "men in dresses".         

J. K. Rowling thus is emblematic of the specter of white feminism that continues to throw any woman who does not look like them under the bus, be it black women or transwomen. What makes her particular brand of white feminism particularly offensive is that her tweets were designed to stir controversy because of their timing. In a crass effort to stay relevant, she tweeted her transphobic views to the world during Pride month after her politically correct 'BLM' comments did not make her trend. She is racist and homophobic in a way a lot of cis-gendered, heterosexual white women are --- by being oblivious to realities other than their own.

She is, in short, another Amy Cooper, who profess to be liberal progressives but really are not. So, really, it is time we just stopped paying any attention to her queer-baiting, transphobic and hateful presence, especially during Pride month.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.