J.K. Rowling is responsible for the most popular book series of all-time.
But the author is anything but popular on social media at the moment.
On Saturday afternoon, the 54-year-old writer posted an opinion article from a global health website titled “Creating a More Equal Post-COVID-19 World for People Who Menstruate” to Twitter.
She then shared her confusion and apparent annooyance over the phrase “people who menstruate.”
“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out,” Rowling wrote for her first Tweet on the topic, adding:
“Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
The DevEx article in question outlined the “many gendered aspects of the pandemic, including increased vulnerabilities to gender-based violence during lockdowns, and the risks faced by primary caretakers.”
The article explained that an estimated 1.8 billion girls, women and gender non-binary persons menstruate.
The article added:
This “has not stopped because of the pandemic” and still require the necessary “menstrual materials, safe access to toilets, soap, water and private spaces in the face of lockdown living conditions that have eliminated privacy for many populations.”
So, where’s the controversy here?
It lies in Rowling stating for her official record that only women menstruate… ignoring transgender individuals in her critique of this article’s premise.
Survivor’s Zeke Smith, who was outed on Season 34 as a transgender man, for example, replied to the author as follows:
“Hi! I’m a man! I menstruate! Stop being an a–hole!”
Others on Twitter also slammed Rowling’s comments as “anti-trans” and “transphobic” because transgender people, non-binary people and gender-nonconforming people can also menstruate.
But Rowling only doubled down on her stance.
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” she wrote.
“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.”
Rowling went on to say that she respects trans people’s right to live comfortably — and later struck out at people calling her a TERF, which stands for a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.”
“I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans.
“At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”
Rowling continues to hear it from all corners and critics, however.
The LGBTQ rights organization GLAAD responded to Rowling’s remarks by saying the author has aligned herself with an ideology that “willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans.
“In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people.”
GLAAD also listed numerous Black trans organizations for people to make donations and concluded by saying people should check out “Percy Jackson” author Rick Riordan if they need a summer read.
Yup, the organization threw shade at Harry Potter.
Rent alum Anthony Rapp also took to Twitter this afternoon to express his frustration over Rowling’s message:
“She has such a powerful voice.”
“Why is she using that voice to die on a hill of transphobia? It is damaging and sad and makes zero sense. Is it really her belief that trans women somehow threaten her own selfhood?”
“What is she so f-cking afraid of?”
Rowling, meanwhile, has come under fire for voicing similar opinions in the past.
In December, she garnered backlash for supporting a researcher who lost her job after saying a person cannot change his/her biological sex.
Despite the controversy Rowling’s tweets stirred in this case, though, she went on to defend herself and her beliefs.
“I’ve spent much of the last three years reading books, blogs and scientific papers by trans people, medics and gender specialists,” the author wrote on Sunday.
“I know exactly what the distinction is.
“Never assume that because someone thinks differently, they have no knowledge.”