J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, is once again drawing criticism for liking anti-transgender rhetoric on Twitter.
Rowling, who has a strong Twitter presence, has liked transphobic tweets in the past, although her publicist said that the author clicked “like” by accident in a “clumsy and middle-aged moment.”
This past December, Rowling tweeted that “sex is real,” a common statement used by transphobes to imply that sex assigned at birth determines a person’s entire life, effectively erasing gender identity.
She used the hashtag #IStandWithMaya in that tweet, a reference to British anti-transgender activist Maya Forstater, who lost her job at a progressive organization for her statements about transgender women, including “men cannot change into women” and that transphobia against trans women only “hurts men’s feelings.”
Over the weekend, Rowling liked a tweet from anti-transgender activist Fred Sargeant. On Twitter, Sargeant frequently advocates that it’s “time to remove the T from same-sex advocacy groups” and that transgender women can’t be oppressed because they’re assigned male at birth.
The tweet in question wasn’t on a different topic. Sargeant wrote about Alex Drummond, a Welsh trans woman who has a beard, calling her “an adult human male who claims to be a lesbian.”
She “believes that real lesbians who aren’t into penises are transphobic and should be excluded from the lesbian community,” according to Sargeant, who misgendered her by calling her “this guy.”
— Fred Sargeant (@FredSargeant) May 15, 2020
Sargeant did not link to a source that showed that Drummond had criticized cisgender lesbians as transphobic. If anything, this 2015 interview with Buzzfeed says that she’s in a monogamous relationship with a woman and said, “As a woman I regularly get complimented on how I look,” not betraying any of the bitterness Sargeant attributed to her.
Rowling’s publicist has not yet said whether this is another “clumsy and middle-aged moment.”