On Saturday afternoon, the author shared an article on her Twitter account about the disparities in menstrual hygiene around the world with a comment about the title of the article, which included the phrase “people who menstruate.” In her comment, Rowling appeared to make fun of the language “people who menstruate,” saying that the headline should have just said “women.”
In the replies, Twitter users pointed out to Rowling that the language used in the title was meant to be inclusive of all people who menstruate since not everyone who menstruates identifies as a woman. They pointed out that trans men, gender non-conforming, and non-binary folks can all menstruate. They said that Rowling’s insistence on calling “people who menstruate” women was exclusionary and transphobic.
I don’t want to quote tweet her transphobia into your feed, but JK Rowling going full mask off TERF in the middle of a pandemic and complete social upheaval feels a lot like this tweet. pic.twitter.com/GeqYGbmRIk
— Kieran (@KingImpulse) June 6, 2020
Rowling then unleashed a series of tweets in which she explained how much research she’s done about being transgender and transitioning, that she has trans friends, that she supports trans folks, and that she believes biological sex is a primary factor in shaping identity.
After these tweets, so many users began talking about Rowling’s controversial views that she became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter. At one point, she was trending alongside the word TERF, which stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist.
The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is a nonsense.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
This isn’t the first time that Twitter has called out Rowling, accusing her of being transphobic or a TERF. Last December, Rowling faced similar backlash when she defended a researcher who said that people cannot change their biological sex. When this incident occurred, LGBTQ+ advocacy organization GLAAD released a statement condemning Rowling’s tweets, according to Variety.
“J.K. Rowling, whose books gave kids hope that they could work together to create a better world, has now aligned herself with an anti-science ideology that denies the basic humanity of people who are transgender,” said a GLAAD representative. “Trans men, trans women and non-binary people are not a threat, and to imply otherwise puts trans people at risk. Now is the time for allies who know and support trans people to speak up and support their fundamental right to be treated equally and fairly.”
According to Pop Buzz, Rowling also has a long history of liking transphobic articles, posts, and tweets on various social networking platforms. Several Twitter users have taken screenshots of tweets or Facebook statuses that Rowling liked and shared them as proof that the author has a habit of liking transphobic content on social media. Twitter users have also shared screenshots that have shown Rowling frequently follows anti-trans accounts and transphobic public figures on social media platforms.
By late Saturday evening, there were over 367,000 tweets about Rowling on the platform, and her name was still the No. 1 trending topic. In addition, there were over 16,400 tweets using the word TERF.