LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: J.K. Rowling arrives at the "Fantastic Beasts: The Secret of Dumbledore" world premiere at The Royal Festival Hall on March 29, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
(Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Famous, Wealthy Author Spends Weekend Bullying a Trans Woman She’s Never Met

The events of this weekend should put to rest the lie that J.K. Rowling is merely a concerned citizen and not a dangerous bigot. She spent the entire time bullying a woman for … being transgender. Yep, that was it. The woman in question did absolutely nothing to Rowling other than exist while transgender.

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It started on May 11, when the once-beloved Harry Potter author somehow stumbled across a post from the charity Pride, which shared a picture of the first openly transgender football referee, Lucy Clark, and noted that she was now the first transgender manager in the top five divisions of U.K. women’s football. The post from Pride appears to be deleted now. (The fact that a LGBTQ+ charity saw fit to delete a perfectly innocuous post makes one wonder what went on there, and exactly how many transphobes must have descended on them for them to make that decision.)

Rowling simply couldn’t let a trans woman be happy and successful on her watch. She responded to the post with the sarcastic words, “When I was young all the football managers were straight, white, middle-aged blokes, so it’s fantastic to see how much things have changed.”

The response to Rowling’s cruelty

People came out in droves to condemn Rowling for picking on someone she’d never even interacted with. One user of X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, wrote, “hahah yes so funny a billionaire made fun of a minority! man, love me some punching down!” to which Rowling responded with more sarcasm, “You’re right. No demographic is more vulnerable and oppressed than large, tattooed crossdressers who get plum jobs in women’s sport. I don’t know how I can have been so cruel.”

Yet cruel is what she is, and she has a worryingly distorted view of the “privilege” trans woman supposedly have. This was brought into sharp relief with another snide remark she made in response to those calling her out, which read, “Calling a man a man is not ‘bullying’ or ‘punching down.’ Crossdressing straight men are currently one of the most pandered-to demographics in existence, and women are under no obligation to applaud the people caricaturing us.”

Let’s take a look at how “pandered to” trans women are.

The sobering statistics surrounding transgender people

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found in 2021 that trans people were “over four times more likely than cisgender people to experience violent victimization, including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault.” According to data from the non-profit Everytown for Gun Safety, as reported by CBS, “the number of trans people who were murdered in the U.S. nearly doubled between 2017 and 2021.” Black trans women are particularly at risk.

This hardly sounds like a demographic that is “pandered to,” does it? Spend any time offline, any time at all, getting to know actual human beings and you’ll soon see how terrified trans people are about this rising tide of hatred. Rowling might also notice—if she’d care to log off Twitter for a second—that the vast majority of cisgender people don’t really care if trans women manage sports teams. Why should they? Trans people have led ordinary lives for years. Why is it suddenly a problem now? Don’t ask Rowling (or at least, don’t ask her about trans women, as she seems completely unaware that trans men exist). She’ll just call you a misogynist, accuse you of trying to silence her, or maybe just outright sue you.

Clark’s response

Rowling continued to engage in the conversation at length, replying to opponents and allies alike and even quote tweeting a Daily Mail article that she didn’t seem to think captured her bigotry quite strongly enough. Luckily, Clark seems to have shrugged off the cruel comments of Rowling and her TERF crowd. She wrote on May 12, “Another day of hate fuelled transphobia against me… but hey guess what I am living my best life. Wake up everyday with my beautiful family around me. Everyday I laugh and have things to look forward to. Who’s winning at life…the one who’s happy and smiling or those hating?”

She went on to call certain transphobes out by name—Rowling, Posie Parker, and Graham Linehan—and say, “So JK, Posie, Glinner and the rest of you out there hating on my community and myself guess what IDGAF…you keep hating and I will keep on smiling and living my best life. Maybe you should all give it a try eh.”

Unfortunately, it seems like Rowling isn’t going to do that anytime soon.


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Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.