On Sunday, Rowling posted a lengthy thread regarding Labour MP Minister Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who claimed that the author was ‘using her sexual assault history to discriminate against transgender people’ – which he would later apologise for.
It followed a nearly 4,000-word essay, in which Rowling spoke out about her own domestic violence survival while defending earlier tweets in which she outraged the trans community.
In retracting his earlier comment, Russell-Moyle, MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven, said: ‘Whilst I may disagree with some of her analysis on trans rights, it was wrong of me to suggest that she used her own dreadful experience in anything other than good faith.’
It’s a lot to unpack, but amid the thread, Rowling shared a quote from feminist and author Andrea Dworkin, which King would go on to retweet.
Rowling wrote: ‘Andrea Dworkin wrote: “Men often react to women’s words—speaking and writing—as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence.” It isn’t hateful for women speak about their own experiences, nor do they deserve shaming for doing so.’
Of this message, King retweeted it to his own feed (where it remained at time of writing), which appeared to set Rowling off to a place of fawning happiness.
In response, she tweeted: ‘I’ve always revered Stephen King, but today my love reached – maybe not Annie Wilkes levels – but new heights.
‘It’s so much easier for men to ignore women’s concerns, or to belittle them, but I won’t ever forget the men who stood up when they didn’t need to. Thank you, Stephen.’
However, her message was hardly given a chance, after she deleted it when one of King’s followers asked him to clarify his stance on trans issues, following the re-tweet, and he replied: ‘Yes. Trans women are women.’
And you better believe her 180 hasn’t gone unnoticed by punters on social media.
Rowling has been embroiled in accusations of being a Terf (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) recently, after she posted a tweet in response to an article referencing ‘people who menstruate’.
Taking issue with the phrasing, Rowling wrote: ‘”People who menstruate”. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
Fans had flooded her with replies to tell her it wasn’t just cis-gender women who menstruate, to which she replied: ‘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.’
Her comments outraged many, and Rowling was accused of transphobia.
In response, many Harry Potter stars spoke out in support of trans rights, with Daniel Radcliffe saying in a statement: ‘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.’
Four writers also quit the literary agency they shared with Rowling in protest, and a school wing that was due to be named after the writer was scrapped.