Who Is J.K. Rowling Standing With?
The Harry Potter author has come under fire for her most recent tweet about a certain Maya
At 8:57 p.m. on December 19, Manila time, J.K. Rowling tweeted the following:
Dress however you please.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) 19 December 2019
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
“#IStandWithMaya,” she appended to her tweet. “#ThisIsNotADrill.”
The response to her tweet was mostly unfavorable, with a handful of people in agreement in the comments. But who is Maya, what is J.K. Rowling talking about, and why are people so mad at her?
It all starts with a researcher named Maya Forstater, who was fired after tweeting anti-trans sentiments. In late September, she said that a person cannot change their biological sex—that “the truth [is] that men cannot change into women.”
What I am so surprised at is that smart people who I admire, who are absolutely pro-science in other areas, and champion human rights & womens rights are tying themselves in knots to avoid saying the truth that men cannot change into women (because that might hurt mens feelings)— Maya Forstater (@MForstater) September 30, 2018
The organization in which she had been a visiting fellow for, the Centre for Global Development (CGD), an international thinktank that campaigns against poverty and inequality, decided not to renew her contract after her statement. The hashtag #IStandWithMaya originated from the case that Forstater filed against her previous employer, in which she was ruled against. According to The Guardian, Judge James Tayler ruled that Forstater’s views did “not have the protected characteristic of philosophical belief.”
The judge ruled that she was “absolutist in her view of sex, and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.”
Forstater responded to the ruling, saying that her belief is that “sex is a biological fact, and is immutable.”
“There are two sexes, male and female,” she told The Guardian. “Men and boys are male. Women and girls are female. It is impossible to change sex. These were until very recently understood as basic facts of life by almost everyone.”
There is a general pushback against Forstater as well as Rowling because their sentiments are at the core of trans-exclusionary radical-feminist (TERF) beliefs, which assert the argument that transwomen are not women, or that transmen are not men, thus invalidating and endangering the rights of transgender individuals.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community who grew up reading the Harry Potter series have expressed their hurt and disappointment towards Rowling, whose tweet not only sympathizes with Forstater, but also implies that the latter’s beliefs also mirrors her own.
As a cis queer woman with a trans sibling, it’s not enough to support the LGB community at the expense of the trans community.— Ashly Perez (@itsashlyperez) December 19, 2019
Lead photos via @jk_rowling and @mforstater on Twitter