Harry Potter Author J.K. Rowling Draws Criticism for Transgender Comments

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling has angered members from the transgender community and other activists for expressing support for a woman who lost an employment tribunal for comments she made on social media about transgender people, simply stating that people cannot change their biological sex, ABCNews Reports.

The researcher, Maya Forstater brought a claim against the Center for Global Development and CGD Europe, an international development think tank, after she lost her job following her comments on Twitter criticizing UK government plans to allow people to self-identify their gender.  A London judge this week upheld her dismissal, finding that her views of sexual identity were “absolutist,” even if they violate someone’s “dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.”

The tribunal, determined that Forstater’s views were not protected as a “philosophical belief” under the Equality Act 2010. Details of the tribunal, held between November 13 and 21, were published Wednesday.

Rowling, who has 14.6 million followers, and has not tweeted since November, broke her Twitter silence Thursday morning and tweeted: “Dress however you please (…) But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?” She referenced the case using the hashtag #IStandWithMaya.

Rowling is otherwise known for her liberal political views and many on Twitter labeled her a TERF (Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist). Among those criticizing her was the Human Rights Campaign, which tweeted: “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. CC: JK Rowling.”

Anthony Ramos, a rep and the head of talent at the LGBTQ rights organization GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), went so far as to say Rowling’s support of U.K. researcher Maya Forstater, “puts trans people at risk.” In a spirit of a re-education and intervention, he told Variety that the organization “reached out to Rowling’s PR team and offered to facilitate an off-the-record discussion between the best-selling author and members of the trans community. Rowling’s reps declined.”

“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,” says Ramos in a statement. “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.”

In a statement posted on Twitter last week, Forstater confirmed again that she believes “sex is a biological fact & is immutable.”

“There are two sexes. Men are male. Women are female. It is impossible to change sex. These were until very recently understood as basic facts of life,” she wrote.

A spokeswoman for Rowling said that the author would not have any further comment.

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met, and married an American journalist and moved to D.C from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic, Media and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

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