J.K. Rowling is a Dirty Rotten TERF

And If You're Still Stanning for her, You Are Too

J.K. Rowling is a Dirty Rotten TERF
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

First, let's get a few things out of the way. Feminism benefits everyone. If you think feminism's only goal is to serve cisgender women, then you're doing it wrong. The goals of feminism help everyone. If true equality and equity were achieved all the harmful structures set in place by the patriarchy would be dismantled. That means men could express their feelings, and wouldn't have to resort to violence as the only way to express themselves. It also means that the control construct could be dismantled, and the idea that the best way to gain power is to rip it from someone else. Ultimately this is a really good thing, but some people have a hard time with the idea that they are still privileged in comparison to someone else.

Recently J. K. Rowling posted a tweet of her wearing a shirt from a store that is vehemently anti-trans and does active work to harm trans communities, under the guise of protecting "real women." This is quite frankly the most recent in a long list of bad behavior from the author, which we will get into in a minute. I replied to the tweet with a picture of myself in a mask that my friend had made for me. That was three days ago, and I still have twitter notifications turned off because if I left them on my phone would be vibrating nonstop 24 hours a day.

Almost all of the replies to this tweet have been people telling me to kill myself, or coming hard for me about how I don't care about women. Clearly, I do, I am a woman, but I also care about trans women, because they are women too. I care about all people, having the equality to behave authentically. Having a lot of trans friends, and having dated and had relationships with some trans folks, as well as being meta myself (I'm non-binary, but generally, femme presenting so it doesn't really affect my day to day. Just like I am white-passing so my ancestry doesn't affect how people view me in general.) What this means is I have been adjacent and witness to the trans experience while not having the first-hand experience.

Even with the removal of it not happening to me, I have seen first hand the damage done to trans women by the patriarchy, and most of the reaction to trans women I see is one hundred percent rooted in misogyny. Women who insist that trans women can't be women because they weren't born with a vulva, is the most preposterous argument I have ever heard. I don't want to be devalued to my genitals, and neither do most women I know. So the idea that someone who is claiming to be a feminist would do this to anyone is perplexing to me.

The other big argument that these people are making is that, because trans women aren't socialized as women they don't experience the same traumas. Ok fair enough I guess, except not at all. Most of the trans people I know experienced dysphoria at a very early age, and because of the patriarchy and gender role expectations they suffer. Even trans women that don't experience dysphoria suffer at the hands of patriarchal expectations. Just because they aren't told to take up less space for being a woman doesn't mean that they aren't told to hide who they are for being a woman.

The trauma is different but it is still at the hands of misogyny. Then on top of that early trauma, you add on having everyone hating you once you start to transition. The immense pressure that trans women experience to perform feminity is out of a need to feel safe. Better to be perceived as a cis woman than to be visibly trans in today's society. In the U.S. alone, 23 states plus 400 cities and municipalities, plus the District of Columbia can fire you from your job for no other reason than because you're trans.

No one is arguing that women don't face societal issues, least of all me. Of course, I care about the statistics for sexual violence. But I also care about men who have experienced sexual violence. That doesn't make me less of a feminist, it just means that I acknowledge the fact that most men who are the victims of sexual violence don't come forward because of the patriarchy. Feminism is the fight for equality, and since the current structures of the world are set to benefit men, that generally means uplifting women.

However, feminists have fallen into the same trap that a lot of oppressed people have in their fight for equality. They find the person lower on the hierarchy than them and punch down. This is what is happening with trans people and Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. Rights are pie, everyone can have them equally without anyone getting any less. The idea that trans folk, take away from the struggles of women in any way, is preposterous. None of us can be equal until all of us are. Excluding trans folk from the fight is doing the entire battle a disservice.

In addition to her 2-year-long crusade on twitter against trans people, documented here by a brave soul. Her pseudonym Robert Galbraith, which she claims is a mix of two of her hero, Robert Kennedy, and Ella Galbraith. The latter being a name she made up in youth. Except that any google search of Robert Galbraith will bring you to this guy, Robert Galbraith Heath who is basically the Josef Mengele to queer people. To deny that JKR is violently opposed to trans people is quantifiably false, and any defense of her at this point labels you as an enemy of the trans community.

I get how hard this can be for a lot of people, specifically millennials who often used the world of Harry Potter to escape from their lives, as a method of saving ourselves, and sometimes, however wrongly as a moral compass. We grew up with the trio and their side characters. We wrote wild fan fiction about them. We saw every movie (minus the Fantastic Beast ones because... just no) on the opening day, and we proudly proclaimed our Hogwarts houses as a method of identifying like-minded people. We did all of these things, and it became very ingrained in us as a generation. I myself have a Harry Potter tattoo, that I have loved for years, but I think it might be time to get it covered up. It feels to me now, with the actions of JKR and her stans like walking around with a confederate flag on my body. It is an immediate identifier that I am an unsafe person to trans people.

That is not true, and I don't want to be associated with this at all anymore. At the very least, people should be unfollowing her on Twitter, and ceasing all purchases of licensed things, including the upcoming video game. At the most, they should be actively confronting her and her stans about this horrid behavior. I don't encourage trans people to engage, as it is likely to be harmful, so allies this is your time. Repeat trans voices, fight for them to keep them safe. This is the reality of the situation, you can not support both JKR and trans people at the same time. We thought we had the chosen one, but she turned out to be just another Voldemort with an army of death eaters.

Paige Graffunder
Paige Graffunder
Read next: The State
Paige Graffunder

Paige is an administrative and HR professional in Seattle, as well as a contributor to several local publications around the city, focused on interpersonal interactions, poetry, and social commentary.

See all posts by Paige Graffunder