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JK Rowling accused of “Holocaust denial” over posts about transgender persecution in Nazi Germany

JK Rowling, transgender inmates, New Jersey
JK Rowling in 2011 Photo: Shutterstock

Anti-transgender troll and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has been accused of Holocaust denial for questioning whether transgender people were targeted in Nazi Germany.

On March 13, she responded to an anonymous X account that cited the Nazi book burning of transgender research and asking her why she supports anti-trans ideology in light of that information. Rowling responded by casting doubt on the user’s claim and suggesting they should have checked their sources.

“I just… how? How did you type this out and press send without thinking ‘I should maybe check my source for this, because it might’ve been a fever dream’?” Rowling wrote.

Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard CyberLaw Clinic, responded to Rowling’s post, accusing her of Holocaust denial and citing multiple sources about trans people being targeted during the Holocaust.

While Rowling has not denied the Holocaust itself happened, she is accused of engaging in a form of Holocaust denial for questioning the persecution of trans people under the Nazi regime, a fact which has been well documented.

Labeled as Lebensunwertes Leben, or “lives unworthy of living,” transgender people were forcibly detransitioned, sent to concentration camps, and murdered in Nazi Germany. This was often distinct from the attacks against cisgender gay individuals.

In addition, the Nazi German Student Association burned the famous Institute for Sexual Research, a research institute founded by Jewish sexologist Magnus Hirschfield that provided gender-affirming care and some legal recognition for transgender people in the form of name changes and “transvestite certificates.” The institute’s research and books were systematically burned, destroying decades of research into the care of transgender people.

Actor George Takei responded to Rowling, stating “This is in fact true.”

Rowling responded to Caraballo by stating that “Neither of your articles support the contention that trans people were the first victims of the Nazis or that all research on trans healthcare was burned in 1930s Germany. You are engaging in lying, Alejandra.”

“I know reading is hard but where did anyone say they were the first victims or that they burned all books?” Caraballo replied. “The facts are that trans people were targeted and the Hirschfeld’s [sic] Sex Institute was sacked by the Nazis and it’s [sic] contents burned on May 6, 1933.”

Rowling responded by citing a post from a completely different person than the one that initiated her thread, before Caraballo replied with a picture of soccer players moving a goal post. “These are different tweets,” Caraballo wrote.

Rowling has a history of transphobic comments, most recently targeting transgender T.V. broadcaster India Willoughby with misgendering and hateful remarks. She has also stated that she would go to jail over her willingness to misgender a trans person.

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