David Tennant Doing Press For Good Omens Season 2
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Internet Rallies Behind David Tennant After J.K. Rowling Attacks

Recently, noted anti-transgender activist J.K. Rowling (previously known for some other stuff) tried to criticize David Tennant by calling him part of the “Gender Taliban,” and Tennant isn’t having it.

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You see, Tennant said he wished the transphobic Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, would “shut up,” and that’s enough to get you compared to the Taliban in Rowling’s book. Weird, because she liked a tweet last year saying, “At least the Taliban knows what a woman is.” I guess she just can’t make up her mind.

But Tennant is going to keep on fiercely defending the trans community no matter what anyone says about him—not least because, reportedly, one of his own children is non-binary. Before the Rowling row started, Tennant and his wife Georgia shared an Instagram post full of photos of them and their kids celebrating Pride, and Tennant was wearing a shirt with the trans flag colors and the slogan “You will have to go through me.” That sentiment was so appreciated by so many people that now, it’s transpired, the Tennants have propelled sales of that t-shirt through the roof.

The store selling it is called Stevie’s Safe Spaces, run by Stevie Brocksom, and now the front page identifies them as “The original creator of David Tennant’s shirt.” And not only has the store gained more support as a result of the Tennants, but sales of the t-shirts have gone towards a scholarship for transgender students in Canada.

So, David Tennant’s frequent acts of allyship (he’s been wearing trans ally t-shirts for a while now) led to a vast outpouring of support for him after Rowling weighed in. The hashtag #IStandWithDavidTennant trended on X/Twitter after Rowling’s comments (and Badenoch’s, which were equally ignorant). Rowling has not thought through a great many things, but she definitely didn’t think through the consequences of picking a fight with such a beloved actor and geek icon.

You know you’ve done something right when Rishi Sunak speaks against you

And then none other than U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke out against Tennant and his Badenoch shot. (You’d think he’d have better things to do with a General Election mere days away.) He claimed, “If you’re calling for women to shut up and wishing they didn’t exist, you are the problem.” Once again, this was met with outrage—some of it with a Doctor Who flavor.

Some also pointed out the sheer hypocrisy of Badenoch and Sunak and their sudden dislike of freedom of speech the moment it was used against them.

So unfortunately, if this week has proven anything, it’s that speaking up for trans rights will get you dogpiled by some of the worst parts of humanity. Yet David Tennant did it anyway and, luckily, he seems to have emerged from it unscathed.

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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.