How can we ever take J.K. Rowling's triumphant stories about good defeating evil seriously again, knowing full-well the hatred she supports?
J.K. Rowling is publishing a new children's story, and she wants to be very clear that it is not another Harry Potter spin-off.
This might come as unfortunate news to any Potterheads who still want a young Marauders spin-off, but it's also a gut punch to all the readers who grew up absorbing Harry Potter's lessons about standing up for the oppressed and fighting back against hateful ideologies. Why? Because now that we know J.K. Rowling is a TERF, everything she writes about standing up to evil rings hollow.
Over 10 years ago, I wrote a stand-alone fairy tale called The Ickabog. You can read more about how, why and when… https://t.co/893T1nUkBF— J.K. Rowling (@J.K. Rowling)1590494425.0
Rowling seems to have some nice intentions behind publishing The Ickabog amidst this current age of unease. According to her, this is a children's fairy tale that she wrote roughly ten years ago, mostly forgot about, and now plans to release in periodical chapters, online, for free. She also plans to let actual children create all the illustrations, and donate all of her eventual author royalties to "groups impacted by the pandemic." The whole thing sounds very sweet, practically tailor-made to fill us with warm fuzzies. I really wish it could.
But according to Rowling, "The Ickabog is a story about truth and the abuse of power," and it's impossible to parse these themes from the fact that, barely a week prior to the annoucement, Rowling was caught liking tweets that were targeted, harassing, and transphobic. Sadly, support for Twitter transphobia has been a trend for J.K. Rowling, dating back to her 2019 defense of Maya Forstater—a London-based researcher who was fired from her job over continual usage of anti-trans language in a professional setting.
Now, in this most recent incident, J.K. Rowling liked a hateful Tweet written by Fred Sergeant, a known transphobe who spends most of his time and energy crusading for the removal of the "T" from "LGBT" and attacking transgender people on Twitter. Sergeant has been particularly keen on singling out Alex Drummond, a psychotherapist, photographer, and trans woman who chooses to keep her beard.
This one got a Like from @jk_rowling today. After my thousand or so re-Likes of her tweet, seems fair. https://t.co/OiZ1ww6YlZ— Fred Sargeant (@Fred Sargeant)1589578221.0
Sergeant, who presumably has nothing better to do with his time, enjoys making polls intended to misgender Drummond, posting about "his dangling bits," and accusing Drummond of "believ[ing] that real lesbians who aren't into pen*ses are transphobic." For the record, there is no evidence of Drummond saying or believing this, but that hasn't stopped beloved author J.K. Rowling for throwing her public support behind Sergeant's bullying.
Considering Fred Segeant bills himself as a "Stonewall vet," his real issue seems to hinge on the fact that the Stonewall charity recognizes trans identities as valid and includes Alex Drummond in their Trans Advisory Group. In other words, a radical TERF who feels jilted by an organization that doesn't share his hateful views has waged an online harassment campaign against a member of that organization, and for whatever reason, the Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling likes that.
J.K. Rowling's descent into TERF-dom is more than tragic. We're talking about a woman who spent the better part of her life helming a fantastical series that imparted lessons of love and acceptance to countless children, a world where Voldemort's hatred against those he considers himself superior to is painted as inherently evil. So the fact that in the real world, J.K. Rowling would use her position as a near-billionaire with a huge social platform to show support for attacks against a small, oppressed group of people who are already subject to disproportional violence and hate crimes, is, quite frankly, appalling.
How can we ever take J.K. Rowling's triumphant stories about good defeating evil seriously again, knowing full-well the hatred she supports? It doesn't matter how nice or sweet or good-natured The Ickabog may be when the words are written by someone who's supported TERF ideology. Trans-exclusionary sentiments are disgusting, full stop. J.K. Rowling should take this to heart, lest she become a snake herself.
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