Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling faced further backlash from transgender activists over the weekend. Rowling posted several tweets on Saturday, which were deemed transphobic and TERF-y (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). Fans of the author were appalled by the comments and Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was quick to announce that he does not agree with Rowling's beliefs. Now, Rowling has shared an intensely personal 3,600-word essay on her past abuse which ties directly into her complex reasons for interest in the subject.
The J.K. Rowling essay begins by setting her intentions. She states, "This isn't an easy piece to write, for reasons that will shortly become clear, but I know it's time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity." She went on to say, "I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity." Over the weekend, Rowling used the phrase, "people who menstruate," in regard to women and drew negative responses from transgender supporters, since it was clear what she was insinuating in her post. This isn't the first time that the transgender community and supporters have had an issue with the author.
However, J.K. Rowling claims that a lot of her stance on transgender issues comes from deeply personal research. "I've wondered whether, if I'd been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition," she wrote. "The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge." The author went on to reveal that she had severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) when she was a teenager and wonders if she had been born 30 years later if she would have found a community online that could have helped persuade her to be the boy her father said he would have preferred. She then talked about her personal sexual assault experiences. Rowling explains.
"The scars left by violence and sexual assault don't disappear, no matter how loved you are, and no matter how much money you've made... I have a visceral sense of the terror in which those trans women will have spent their last seconds on earth, because I too have known moments of blind fear when I realized that the only thing keeping me alive was the shaky self-restraint of my attacker."
While J.K. Rowling believes transgender individuals need to be protected, she also believes that some of their "demands" could be potentially harmful to women in general. "When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he's a woman... then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside," the Harry Potter creator said. She went on to defend her beliefs. Rowling had this to say.
"I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode 'woman' as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it."
J.K. Rowling wrote her essay after getting attacked online over the weekend by Harry Potter fans comparing her to Lord Voldemort. She says, "All I'm asking - all I want - is for similar empathy, similar understanding, to be extended to the many millions of women whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without receiving threats and abuse." The author also wanted it to be clear that her complex backstory has helped shape her into the person that she is today. It's unclear how her essay will be received by the transgender community at this time. You can read the lengthy essay in full over at J.K. Rowling's official website.