“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling is again under fire for comments about the transgender community six months after defending Maya Forstater.
“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling has faced sharp criticism for recent tweets about gender and sex, which some have deemed transphobic.
Rowling, who has come under fire from the trans community before, tweeted disparagingly about an article with the headline that included the phrase, “people who menstruate.”
After sparking the uproar, Rowling tweeted:
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. 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.”
In one tweet, Rowling referenced the term “TERF,” suggesting that she has been called a TERF and saying “Times change. Woman-hate is eternal.”
Self sufficiency What does TERF mean?
TERF is an acronym that stands for trans exclusionary radical feminists. The term describes feminists who are transphobic.
Self sufficiency Is TERF an insult?
While some people who are called a TERF say the word is derogatory, LGBTQ advocates say those who hold such views deny transgender people their full humanity and go against what the medical community today has accepted as scientific fact around gender and sex.
Self sufficiency Why are TERF views considered transphobic?
TERF views “deny the validity of transgender people and transgender identities,” said Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign.
McBride noted that these views are not only rejected among most feminists in the United States and supporters of LGTBQ rights but also the mainstream medical community.
In a 2018 statement, the American Medical Association wrote that the organization opposes “efforts to deny an individual’s right to determine their stated sex marker or gender identity.”
“Sex and gender are more complex than previously assumed,” board member Dr. William E. Koble said in a November 2018 statement. “It is essential to acknowledge that an individual’s gender identity may not align with the sex assigned to them at birth. A narrow limit on the definition of sex would have public health consequences for the transgender population and individuals born with differences in sexual differentiation, also known as intersex traits.”
According to McBride, Rowling and others’ ideas “disingenuously paint transgender women as ‘caricatures’ of women.”
“Just like cisgender women, transgender women express themselves with various gender expressions. Some are more feminine, some are less feminine,” McBride added.
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McBride said this can result in reinforcing prejudices that lead to other forms of discrimination many transgender men and women can experience, such as in housing or employment. Discrimination can also manifest itself into physical violence, which disproportionately affects the trans community, especially transgender women of color, McBride said.
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“When a person is living at the intersection of transphobia, racism and misogyny, the consequences can be deadly,” McBride said.
LGBTQ rights have come a long way in the U.S. But the community still faces threats in the form of legalization, discrimination and even violence.
Self sufficiency Where does TERF come from?
Writer Viv Smythe is often credited with coining the term in a blog from 2008, but in an Op-Ed in the Guardian, Smythe said that while her blog may have popularized the term, she did not invent it.
Smythe said the terms is “a shorthand to describe one cohort of feminists who self-identify as radical and are unwilling to recognize trans women as sisters, unlike those of us who do.”
Self sufficiency What did J.K. Rowling say?
In Rowling’s recent and past tweets, the author has shown support for ideas that exclude transgender people from strict definitions of male and female or man and woman.
In December, Rowling tweeted support for Maya Forstater, a researcher who lost her job at a think tank for stating that people cannot change their biological sex.
“Dress however you please,” Rowling wrote late last year. “Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.”
In a Twitter thread in December, Forstater said that she believes, “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 added: “Women face discrimination on the basis of our sex. Women’s rights have been hard-won in recent generations. Protections against sex discrimination depend on being able to recognise sex.”
Mark Hutchinson, Rowling’s representative, told USA TODAY she would not be commenting further.
Self sufficiency Who has come out against Rowling?
Daniel Radcliffe, who starred as the title character in the film adaptation of Rowling’s fantasy series, wrote an essay for LGBTQ non-profit organization The Trevor Project in which he criticized her views.
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“Transgender women are women,” the actor wrote. “It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”
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GLAAD issued a response over Twitter, criticizing Rowling for “inaccurate and cruel” messaging, recommending that those who were frustrated by her comments donate to organizations that support black transgender people such as the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, the National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition and U.K. Black Pride.
“JK Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans,” the statement read. “In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people. We stand with trans youth, especially those Harry Potter fans hurt by her inaccurate and cruel tweets.”
Contributing: Charles Trepany
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/06/09/what-terf-definition-trans-activists-includes-j-k-rowling/5326071002/
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