J.K. Rowling posted a lengthy essay on Wednesday in defense of comments she has made on Twitter about the transgender community which many — including some actors in the Harry Potter franchise — have rejected as transphobic.
In the piece released on her website, Rowling defended her remarks as a reaction to what she called "degrading language" against women, and accused transgender activists of terrorizing women around the world.
"Late on Saturday evening, scrolling through children’s pictures before I went to bed, I forgot the first rule of Twitter — never, ever expect a nuanced conversation — and reacted to what I felt was degrading language about women. I spoke up about the importance of sex and have been paying the price ever since," she wrote.
"Huge numbers of women are justifiably terrified by the trans activists; I know this because so many have got in touch with me to tell their stories. They’re afraid of doxxing, of losing their jobs or their livelihoods, and of violence," the author continued.
At the same time, Rowling defended her relationship with the transgender community and stressed that she wanted transgender people "to be safe" despite her comments about activists.
"Again and again I’ve been told to ‘just meet some trans people.’ I have: in addition to a few younger people, who were all adorable, I happen to know a self-described transsexual woman who’s older than I am and wonderful," she wrote.
"So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman — and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones — then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth," Rowling added.
The "Harry Potter" author has faced a storm of criticism on social media for a tweet she posted over the weekend questioning the language used on a blog post that referred to "people who menstruate."
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
Rowling's remarks evoked responses from several stars of the Harry Potter film franchise, including star Daniel Radcliffe.
“To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you,” Radcliffe wrote in a statement.
"Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I,” he continued.
Rowling has faced similar accusations in the past, and in December faced a backlash after promoting a researcher fired for what a judge called an "absolutist" view of transgender people and gender.