Last week, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling “liked” a tweet — by mistake — and transgender activists excoriated her for it.
“I don’t want to jump the gun here. But perhaps you should clarify, J.K. Rowling, do you also believe that trans women are men in dresses?” one “alt centrist woman” tweeted. “And that people fighting for our rights is misogyny? Because that’s how it looks from you liking this tweet.”
I don't want to jump the gun here.
But perhaps you should clarify @jk_rowling – do you also believe that trans women are men in dresses? And that people fighting for our rights is misogyny?
Because that's how it looks from you liking this tweet. pic.twitter.com/paUPmqhOmj
— beaver bother (@notCursedE) March 21, 2018
A Labour Party supporter whose Twitter account has since been deleted posted the original tweet, lamenting that transgender people were welcomed more warmly into the Labour Party than women like her.
“I was shouted at by men at my first Labour Party meeting aged 18 because I asked them to remove a Page 3 calendar,” the woman Rachel tweeted. “I’ve been told to toughen up, be louder, stronger, independent. I’ve often not felt supported. Men in dresses get brocialist solidarity I never had. That’s misogyny!”
A Rowling spokesman said the Harry Potter author had “liked” the tweet by accident. “This is not the first time she has favourited [a tweet] by holding her phone incorrectly,” the spokesman told Britain’s Daily Mail. “It was a mistake. I’m afraid J. K. Rowling had a clumsy middle-aged moment.”
As the Daily Mail noted, Rowling has “previously shown sympathy for gay and transgender issues.” In fact, she is a rabid liberal who mocked Piers Morgan for refusing to compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. Even so, transgender activists seemed determined to read “transphobia” and secret hatred into Rowling’s “liking” of a tweet.
“Trans culture is seeing the beloved author of your generation like a transphobic tweet from a troll account which has repeatedly called you a man,” a male-to-female transgender user tweeted.
“Wait so J.K. Rowling wrote books where the characters could literally transform into cats and dead people but trans folk are beyond all comprehension?” transgender activist, cook, and author Jack Monroe tweeted. “‘Men in dresses’ from a woman who literally made a fortune writing about MEN IN DRESSES? Waahh what this is just so crappy.”
Wait so @jk_rowling wrote books where the characters could literally transform into cats and dead people but trans folk are beyond all comprehension? 'Men in dresses' from a woman who literally made a fortune writing about MEN IN DRESSES? Waahh what this is just so crappy pic.twitter.com/7wnkJe4Qa0
— 🌈👩🍳📚Jack Monroe (@BootstrapCook) March 21, 2018
“Going to keep it from my son that J.K. Rowling is transphobic,” Leanne Donnelly, who identifies herself as the mother of a transgender child, tweeted. “How crushing for all the trans kids out there that love her work. And for the record, trans people don’t ‘want’ to be other gender, they inherently ‘are’. Persistently, insistently, consistently.”
Transgender activist Megan Rae sent a message to Rowling: “I’m A trans woman. I grew up reading, loving, &wishing I could go to Hogwarts. It’s still 1 of my fav. series. I’m not a man in a dress. I’m not invading women’s spaces, taking women’s rights, or faking. I’m very hurt by the posts that you apparently agree with.”
@jk_rowling …I'm A trans woman. I grew up reading, loving, &wishing I could go to Hogwarts. It's still 1 of my fav. series.
I'm not a man in a dress. I'm not invading women's spaces, taking women's rights, or faking. I'm very hurt by the posts that you apparently agree with.
— 🔮💀🕸just Megan🕸💀🔮 (@stormsmaycome) March 23, 2018
Even after the activists heard the explanation that Rowling had accidentally “liked” the tweet, they refused to believe that the Harry Potter author did not have an animus against them.
Transgender activist and journalist Gwendolyn Ann Smith demanded an explanation. “As a journalist and a trans woman, I want to here [sic] what you have to say about your ‘middle-aged moment.’ What’s more, I want to hear *exactly* what your opinion of trans women is.”
So, @jk_rowling, would you please address this? As a journalist and a trans woman, I want to here what you have to say about your "middle-aged moment." What's more, I want to hear *exactly* what your opinion of trans women is.
— Gwendolyn Ann Smith (@gwenners) March 23, 2018
Is it really so hard to believe that Rowling simply made a mistake? The tweet in question also has a feminist flair, and if Rowling had read the first half and the last quip — “That’s misogyny!” — she might have “liked” the tweet without even realizing the “men in dresses” bit.