JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter novels, is trending on Twitter again. Those who’ve seen this a few times now may have cringed as they clicked to find out why this time, especially as they noticed “transphobes” was also a trending topic. Yes, the author has again reminded the internet of her views. At the same time, she tweeted about receiving death threats and claimed that they are from trans activists, and seems to claim that this is proof of her prior claims that trans people are a danger to women. Twitter had a lot to say about this.
Here are the tweets from JK Rowling, that got things started off. The Twitter account in the screenshot she posted, where the death threat originated, has since been deleted.
In the first tweet, JK Rowling explains that since cancel culture tried to end her career, and that was unsuccessful, and she was threatened with other kinds of violence, and that was unsuccessful, that the people who oppose her viewpoints have been forced to send her death threats. (Note: That is never okay.) In the second tweet, she says that these death threats are proof that trans activists are violent. Some Twitter users have been pointing out that she doesn’t know if the people sending her death threats are trans people, but the author isn’t responding to tweets at this time. The conversation online, however, continues without her.
Some of JK Rowling’s previous statements have been about how she feels that anyone can claim to be any gender and then use any restroom, which she says poses a threat to women. She has also made clear that she defines women only as those born to the female sex. It’s unclear how she views people born as intersex. Her statements have been clear that she feels that trans people are a threat to those she defines as women. Receiving death threats on Twitter, she feels, supports this statement.
These sentiments from JK Rowling speak to a larger group that some call TERFs and some call “gender critical feminists”. These are feminists who don’t include trans women as women.
Many who felt as JK Rowling feels began to demand that trans people online apologize for the author receiving death threats from the since-deleted Twitter account. Meanwhile, trans activists began to tweet pointing out that trans people face record-high murder rates and high rates of suicide, especially among trans adolescents. Many people shared that they regularly receive death threats online for their identity, without them having to say anything.
Unfortunately, many online arguments lead to a point where it has to be said that no one should receive threats of violence. Ever.
While JK Rowling is receiving threats, so are the people speaking out against her.
While it’s true that online threats of violence happen to trans people regularly, there’s something unique that happens with JK Rowling’s following. She has the power of a dedicated fandom behind her. And then adding in the ideology of a cause gives fuel that breeds something unique. A Twitter thread from Zeke Smith explains this well. Zeke is a writer and a former contestant on Survivor. During his second season on the show, in the middle of a tribal council meeting, his competitor chose to out him as trans on national television. Back at home, people in Zeke’s everyday life didn’t know this about him. He handled this moment with a fair amount of grace.
He tweeted about the JK Rowling situation, saying that when he was outed on national television, he received some transphobic tweets. However, when he discusses JK Rowling, he is sent a wave of hate that’s much bigger. You can see some of his tweets below.
This isn’t the first time that JK Rowling has trended on Twitter and started global conversations about trans rights. It won’t be the last, either. As the author has pointed out, it hasn’t led to failing book sales or any cut ties with her publisher. She stands firm in her beliefs, which she continues to claim are not transphobic.