Unbelievable Moments in Trans Activism: The Reaction to J.K. Rowling's Essay
So horrendous it spawned thousands of new TERFs
In this series, I am looking at egregious moments in modern trans activism so that, when this insane ideology finally falls out of fashion, we will remember the activists, news outlets, and organizations to hold to account.
For the first post of this series, I could think of no better place to start than the unhinged reaction to J.K. Rowling’s 2020 essay where she explained her reasons for speaking out on sex and gender issues. The essay caused such an extreme outcry with so much vitriol directed at the beloved children’s author that many people now point to it as their “peak trans” moment.
Of course, Rowling didn’t say anything warranting such a reaction in her essay. It was a balanced and compassionate piece that was in fact so balanced and compassionate that gender ideologues were warning each other not to read it because she sounded so persuasive!
I will never forget coming across a Twitter user who, in all earnest, was asking their followers to point out why the essay was so bad because it sounded so sensible to them! While funny, the moment made me sad that some people outsource their thinking to others in such a way.
Of course, this was absolutely nothing compared to the flood of abuse that rained down on Rowling, a flood that had started when she first broached the topic of gender and that continues today every time she tweets. The website terfisaslur has done an excellent job of documenting these and other instances of abuse and harassment by trans activists.
Here is just a sampling of some of what came Rowling’s way:
The media had a field day with the essay as well, and all mainstream outlets were sympathetic to her haters even as the abuse reached a fever pitch. “J.K. Rowling doubles down in what some critics call a 'transphobic manifesto'’” declared NBC, claiming that regret and detransition were not the concern Rowling thought they were. Forbes likewise gave a platform to staunch trans activist Dawn (Don) Ennis, who histrionically asked, “J.K. Rowling Sees Herself As Harry Potter, But Is She Really Voldemort?”
And then there was the response from the vapid stars of the film series. Daniel Radcliffe obediently recited the creed that “transgender women are women,” and Emma Watson chimed in with the second article of gender faith: “trans people are who they say they are.”
Neither had anything to say about the abuse that Rowling was receiving.
Despite all of that, the essay was a defining moment in the fight against gender ideology, and I have no doubt that it helped catapult the issue into the mainstream conversation it now is. At the time, it was still something most people didn’t know about or were simply ignoring.
If I can add a personal note—J.K. Rowling was a huge inspiration in my life. Who knows if I’d even have become a writer without her. So, even though this is a stupid world, the fact that this amazing woman has chosen to speak out about what she knows is right means it is certainly far from the worst possible world.
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