Students at the Seaford Head School in the U.K. announced in a letter that they’re going to rename all the student houses at the school because one of them is named after J.K. Rowling, citing “her recent words about the trans community.”
The letter also cited Winston Churchill, who the students said “promoted racism and inequality, unfairly imprisoning and torturing many.”
The Seaford Head School has four student houses and they’re named after Rowling, Churchill, Florence Nightingale, and Nelson Mandela. The school’s website says that they names were chosen by the student council and that they “perfectly represent the ethos of our school.”
Well, it turns out that giving a living person an honor usually reserved for the dead – that is, their name on a building – can have unintended consequences. The Harry Potter author spent the better part of last year saying that transgender women are a threat to cisgender women and that transgender men can’t really know their own gender identity, spreading transphobic messages on Twitter and even promoting a vile online store that sells mugs and pins with transphobic messages.
The student council sent a letter to parents saying Rowling and Churchill don’t represent the school’s values.
“Furthermore, as a school committed to stopping bullying and creating a safe environment, we no longer think that J.K. Rowling is a suitable representative, because of her recent words about the trans community,” the letter stated. “Intolerance and discrimination are treated very severely by our school and we do not want to promote anyone or anything that encourages such prejudice.”
Their solution? Rename all the buildings after local landmarks, like nearby villages and scenic areas. The students say they will hold a vote at a later date to decide on the new names.
So while the letter doesn’t criticize Nightingale and Mandela, apparently the lesson the students took from Rowling’s transphobia is to just not have heroes anymore.
One parent told the local newspaper The Argus that they were upset that there will no longer be a building named after Churchill: “He helped us fight back the evil of Hitler’s Nazi Germany – surely he deserves to be celebrated for this.”
But his racist views are well-known.
“I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia,” he told the Royal Palestine Commission in 1937. “I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”
The school’s website still says that the four houses are named after the three historical figures and Rowling. It also has a quotation from each of them, and this is what they chose to represent Rowling: “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”
Last year, Rowling came out swinging against transgender equality advocates, writing Twitter threads of tweets for her 14 million followers that attacked transgender identities as fake, wrote a rambling essay where she compared the existence of transgender women to domestic violence, showed support for conversion therapy for transgender people, and even plugged a disgusting website that sells transphobic mugs and pins.
When she faced criticism, she claimed that she was just exercising her “free speech”… before she threatened legal action to shut down critics and even forced a children’s news website to apologize to her publicly.
While many celebrities criticized Rowling, others came out in support of Rowling’s transphobia – claiming she was being silenced – while she published a book about a man who dresses up as a woman so that he can get close to women and kill them.