J.K. Rowling has a controversial record when it comes to her views on trans people, and a few weeks ago the Harry Potter author came under fire for a series of tweets which appeared to promote transphobic sentiments.
Now, fellow author Stephen King has become inadvertently embroiled in the drama.
After facing criticism for her anti-trans sentiments, J.K. Rowling has retracted praise of Stephen King after he tweeted his support of the trans community.
A few weeks back, Rowling faced backlash after she posted a series of tweets which argued that notions of gender identity contradict biological sex – a stance which many perceived to be anti-trans. Following this, numerous Harry Potter stars addressed the matter, including Daniel Radcliffe, who wrote a letter in support of trans and non-binary people.
In turn, Rowling penned an essay of her own clarifying her views on the subject, including an admission that she was abused by her ex-partner. However, her 3,600-word response appeared to do little to calm the anguish of her detractors and she has continued to attract the label of TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), a term used to refer to feminists who exclude trans women from their definition of women.
Following this, Labour MP Lloyd Russel-Moyle accused Rowling of using her history of domestic violence as an excuse for her discrimination against the trans community – a view which he has since apologised for. Rowling took to Twitter to respond to Russell-Moyle’s apology, in doing so quoting feminist writer Andrea Dworkin. Rowling wrote:
“Andrea Dworkin wrote: ‘Men often react to women’s words—speaking and writing—as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence.’ It isn’t hateful for women speak about their own experiences, nor do they deserve shaming for doing so.”
Andrea Dworkin wrote: ‘Men often react to women’s words—speaking and writing—as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence.’ It isn’t hateful for women speak about their own experiences, nor do they deserve shaming for doing so. 8/9
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 28, 2020
In a strange turn of events, Rowling’s post was then retweeted by fellow author Stephen King. However, it seems that King may have simply been in agreeance with the feminist sentiment of Rowling’s tweet, perhaps unaware of the broader context of her statements.
Upon retweeting Rowling’s tweet, King himself was accused of being a TERF, whilst Rowling, apparently delighted to receive the support of her fellow author, tweeted her appreciation of King:
“I’ve always revered @StephenKing, but today my love reached — maybe not Annie Wikes levels — but new heights,” Rowling wrote. “It’s so much easier for men to ignore women’s concerns, or to belittle them, but I won’t ever forget the men who stood up when they didn’t need to. Thank you, Stephen.”
However, after a fan requested that King directly communicate his stance on trans matters, King responded with the statement: “Yes. Trans women are women.”
Yes. Trans women are women.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) June 28, 2020
Immediately following this, Rowling deleted the tweets in which she had thanked the author for supporting her and proceeded to block him.
Unbelievable: Stephen King retweeted one of JKR’s tweets today. She got so excited that a single celebrity finally backed up her views with a mere RT that she wrote a whole thank you
King then said “trans women are women” and JKR deleted her praise. https://t.co/zS08UGnYTF pic.twitter.com/3GAddq1o65
— Andrew Sims+ (@sims) June 28, 2020
Rowling’s stance on transgender issues has given rise to much debate over the last few weeks, and it seems that there is no slowing down yet.