JK Rowling is under fire from trans rights activists again, this time for her latest novel featuring a trans character as a villain. Writing under the pen name Robert Galbraith, Rowling has published Troubled Blood, a mystery novel dealing with the cold case of a missing woman that features a trans character.
The lead characters are private detectives Robin Ellacott and Cormoran Strike, who has been at the center of Galbraith four previous novels. But in this one, the reviewers seem to get stuck on just one thing: the villain is a "transvestite."
A review in the Telegraph reads "One wonders what critics of Rowling's stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress." While the ever-vigilant Pink News writes that the character in question, a serial killer, is a "cis male serial killer who dresses as a woman to kill his cis female victims."
Pink News quotes tweets from Rowling's detractors that claim there has never been a "transvestite serial killer," and claims that the character is a "man in a dress." However, this is the same publication that has been telling us that individuals get to decide what their gender is, and that is not something that can be imposed from the outside.
I haven't read the book, so I don't know if this character of Rowling's identifies as trans—but neither has Pink News. Instead, they have decided that because they don't like Rowling's stance on the definition of the word "woman," her characters do not get the same courtesy they provide to any other character, fictional or otherwise.
The continued outpouring of hate for Rowling, complete with an #RIPJKRowling hashtag on Twitter, seems to be in direct proportion to how much she was loved. Her Harry Potter book series gave voice and solace to so many kids who felt like they were outsider. Some of those who loved the wildly popular book series identified along with the alphabet soup of LGBTQ+ were horribly disappointed when Rowling continued to speak for herself and was not able to be cowed or intimidated into stating that men can be women, or the reverse.
Even after Rowling released her own essay about having been victimized as a woman, she was flayed by social media adversaries who blamed her for everything from the (non-existent) epidemic of trans murders to the (non-existent) rash of young, trans suicides.
Actress Cynthia Nixon said that Rowling's statements on the scientific reality of biological sex were painful for her trans child. "It was really painful for him because so much of his childhood was tied up with Harry Potter," Nixon, who played one of the fearless foursome alongside Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex in the City said.
"The books seem to be about championing people who are different, so for her to select this one group of people who are obviously different and sort of deny their existence, it's just … it's really baffling. I know she feels like she's standing up for feminism, but I don't get it."
Where Nixon is wrong is that Rowling is not standing up for feminism, or any other ideology, she is simply and directly standing up for the rights of women and girls to be defined according to their biological reality, to not be called "menstruators," and to have their own spaces.
This past year has been one that put Rowling's views on women, men, and the many gender letters in between. She came out vocally in support of the rights of women and girls to private spaces, and their right alone to be defined as females. Once she did that, she was trounced upon by trans rights activists who have called her all sorts of names on social media, and sought to have her books removed from schools and book lists.
While at first it seemed that Rowling was entirely too big to cancel, the whisper campaigns have not stopped. In many cases, they have gained traction despite their advocates being primarily in the minority. While gender critical feminists have spoken out in favour of Rowling, her assertion that science—in the form of biological reality—is real, and sharing the hashtag #IStandWithJKRowling, they too have come under attack from trans ideologues determined to erase women's reality.
In Vancouver, gender critical women's rights activists put up a billboard reading, simply, I <3 JK Rowling. It was taken down after Pattison, the billboard company, received one complaint. A similar advertisement places in an Edinburgh railway station was taken down after exactly zero complaints were received.
Rowling's latest novel will undoubtedly not be read by many of those who will seek to destroy it in press and social media. But I'm glad to have seen these reviews today—they reminded me to go buy a hardcover copy of Troubled Blood, so that I can stand with JK Rowling not just on Twitter, but in real life, too.