J.K. Rowling has really gone hard on her crusade against transgender people lately, while simultaneously insisting what she’s actually doing is pushing back against misogyny and homophobia. But a little bit of Twitter drama surrounding her and fellow author Stephen King is making it more difficult to deny that Rowling is just straight up anti-trans at this point.
Several weeks ago, Rowling posted a series of tweets seeming to insinuate that pushing for trans equality is equivalent to erasing the entire concept of sex, which, she said, erases the experiences of women as well as gay and bisexual people.
She followed these up with a lengthy and misguided blog post aimed at defending her position, but which actually just cemented to many people that the once-beloved author has become a complete TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). In it, she took aim at the idea that trans people belong in spaces corresponding with the gender they identify as, claimed that peer pressure is responsible for too many transitions, and painted vehemently anti-trans activists as victims in instances where they received pushback for their bigotry. Every point Rowling made was easily torn apart with facts.
Never one to stop while she’s behind, Rowling came back to Twitter over the weekend with a new thread yet again conflating the push for trans equality with misogyny, and painting herself a crusader for “powerless” women against “so-called leftists” who believe trans women are women, too.
One of Rowling’s tweets served as a stand alone commentary on misogyny and lacked the TERFness other tweets in her thread contained.
It was this tweet that was eventually retweeted by King, something that Rowling clearly took as implicit support of her entire thread, and likely her anti-trans crusade as a whole.
Though King added no commentary of his own and didn’t engage with her, Rowling took note of his retweet.
“I’ve always revered @StephenKing, but today my love reached — maybe not Annie Wilkes levels — but new heights,” Rowling wrote, referencing the antagonist of King’s Misery. “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.”
Disappointed fans immediately asked King to clarify.
People have been paying close attention to Rowling and her supporters as they continuously and casually out themselves as transphobes, and fans of King were not eager to add him to the list. But as Rowling seemed to immediately tie his one retweet against misogyny to her whole TERFy outlook, clarity became necessary.
And King did not disappoint.
“Yes. Trans women are women,” he responded to one reader.
The response from Rowling was particularly telling.
She went from expressing nearly “Annie Wilkes levels” of adoration for King to not only deleting her tweet, but unfollowing him on Twitter altogether.
All of this with no public interaction between the two. King’s acknowledgement that trans women are women was enough, to Rowling, to suddenly disregard him entirely.
As disappointing as Rowling’s perpetual transphobia continues to be, the refusal of other high profile authors to engage with her ideology is reassuring, and Twitter had plenty to say about it.
Rowling can keep saying she’s not anti-trans all she wants, but when literally everything she says and does suggests otherwise…the look’s gonna stick. It’s only too bad she won’t let some of her famous friends show her that you can absolutely fight against misogyny without being transphobic.