Rowling Blows Up Twitter Once Again; She Doubles Down on Sex and Gender

Read all about it here: J.K. Rowling slammed for defending concept of biological sex: ‘It isn’t hate to speak the truth.’

The short version: Rowling in a series of tweets has repeated and doubled-down on her #IStandWithMaya position from last December that it is not bigotry or hate-speech to insist that transgender women are not biological women.

The twitter-verse predictably has exploded with calls for her beheading mixed in with celebrations of her courage in speaking the truth.

I have three thoughts about what this means that I offer here in haste for your comment and correction:

(1) Another Rowling Vacation from Twitter? After the explosion in December about her insufficient woke-ness, Rowling disappeared for several months. She re-surfaced during the Covid-19 lockdown, it seems in retrospect in order to do what she could in the cause of “saving the NHS.” Her posts took the turn of hyper-political scolding with the Dominic Cummings controversy so perhaps it should be no surprise that the issue of transgender rights has resurfaced as well. Maybe this second doxxing and deep-dipping in the mercurial baths of social media will remind her why she left Twitter in the first place and why she should resume her silence.

(2) The End of the Goodwill Campaign? Rowling re-entered the social media world with a bang; she gave a million pounds sterling to two Covid-19 charities and created a website that is posting in daily chapters her political fairy tale, The Ickabog, all for free. Children everywhere have been reading it and creating drawings to accompany the eventual printed text. Rowling’s tweets the last two weeks have almost exclusively been in admiration of drawings sent to her by proud parents and excited children. If she leaves Twitter, of course, it will mean the end of that wonderful experience for author and illustrators alike.

(3) Goodbye, Fantastic Beasts? It’s hard to imagine Rowling being kept on in any front line capacity with her Newt Scamander film series. The Super Politically Correct actors involved, the ones playing Credence Barebones (Ezra Miller) and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) most obviously, however much they have revered Rowling in the past, will have a very hard time reconciling their public personae with Rowling’s statements about transgender women. Warner Brothers, frankly, might be just as pleased to have Rowling give them a novel to adapt rather than have her continue as screenwriter and executive producer.

If this situation leads to Rowling reverting to novelist and giving up the screen-writing, there will be no complaints from this corner.

What are your thoughts about what the latest twitter storm will mean for Rowling’s future as a writer? A gentle warning, in advance; I’m not interested in and will not approve any comments that discuss the transgender issue per se. Please share those opinions on the thousands of fan sites and twitter feeds devoted to that subject. 




  1. Nick Jeffery says

    I’ve been researching the fascinating person that is JK Rowling for quite some months now, and I have some thoughts on her probable motivations. In December I shared my theory that the Maya Forstater tweet was an example of “Solve” destruction, a deliberate split with the Harry Potter fandom with a view to creating something new. At the time, almost all be big names in the fandom treated the (on the surface) reasonable tweet as hate speech. Many of them un-followed her on twitter, and publicly distanced their admiration of the material from the creator. Now we have seen the organisations they lead also un-following her, deepening the split.
    I think the truth might be somewhat more complex. She has a group of not famous, not rich, friends that are among the, now more than 700 people she follows on twitter. Most of them live in or near Edinburgh, most of them are women. In the early days of her activity on twitter, she interacted with them in an easy, familiar manner that showed a level of trust. Almost all of this group has shown some interest in and support for gender critical views. I can see little evidence for activism, or evangelism, just a group of like minded people with the same world view.
    For her earliest days at school and university Rowling has been remarkably faithful to her friends, and her friends have been remarkably faithful to her. The only people that have sold stories to the tabloids have been her ex-husband, her father and her cousin. I think this is a case of JK Rowling caring more for the opinion friends than the fandom.
    My only hope is that this will not disrupt the Ikabog children’s drawing discussion, a very particular pleasure in these troubling times.

  2. Kelly Loomis says

    From the beginning of the Beasts series, I have wished it was in novel form. I have never been a fan of the movie adaptations preferring the written word to the translated and cut down versions we see on the screen. Warner Bros may prefer to tell their own story but will they even get it all if they punt Rowling? Dumbledore is Rowling’s favorite character and this is ultimately – as she has pointed out – the story of how Dumbledore became Dumbledore.

    She doesn’t seem to be able to reign herself in from political posts. I’ve found many of my own social media friends, from Facebook to Instagram, have become rather continuous commentators from “both sides of the aisle” rather than the posting of family and friends updates which I initially joined for. I understand people are passionate about what they believe but I frankly am getting tired of all the negativity and doomsday posts. If I wanted constant cultural and political content, I would read the editorial pages of various publications rather than my “social” media.

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Her Twitterations (to give that word a partially new sense, with ‘iterations’ as part of the portmanteau) have, I suspect, put off a wide and varied range of her avid readers down the years, though I also suspect to varying degrees (e.g., who will attempt – or can do so, successfully – Lewis’s “willingness to suspend disbelief (or belief) or even repugnance” as appreciative reader in contrast to “the Vigilants, finding in every turn of expression the symptom of attitudes which it is a matter of life and death to accept or resist”, as he puts it in ch. 11 of An Experiment in Criticism (1961)?).

    Will this series of tweets be a touchstone for,. e..g., Ickabog readers and illustrators, as she goes on attending to “admiration of drawings sent to her by proud parents and excited children” (whatever else she does – or does not do – on Twitter)? Or, another sort of touchstone for Twitter, as to who they openly censor, or covertly ‘seclude’ (so to put it)?

    How much legal technicality quite unknown to any ‘outsider’ is involved where WB are concerned – or, for that matter, any of her publishers, or licensed-product merchandizers ? What possibilities of ‘unforgiving shutdown’ are there, should the relevant companies/corporations opt (prudentially) for that approach? Will they follow the example of Lego last week re. representation of police officers, firefighters, criminals, emergency vehicles, and buildings in requesting “that our affiliate partners refrain from posting promotional LEGO content” with reference to such products, though temporarily, where all JKR ‘products’ are concerned?

  4. Elizabeth says

    She is clear in her support for the LGBT community, transgender community, and women’s well being. She is stating a simple scientific fact: no one can change their sex at a DNA level. Never. Impossible. It is a fact.

    I believe JK Rowling respects transgender issues deeply and is supportive of the transgender community.

    Question at large: why must she sacrifice logic and facts to appease general popular thinking?

    Twitter Silence? I prefer it – I don’t care for social media personally.

  5. Melissa D. Aaron (Moonyprof) says

    Let us put the issue you mentioned aside, as you asked. I would be extremely sorry if this were the end of Fantastic Beasts. Once it has been started as a set of films, it really can’t be transitioned to novel form. For example, if you read the screenplay, Newt comes across as cold and uncaring. So much of his character is provided by Eddie Redmayne. We would notice if those elements were missing. The new screenplays will be written by Steve Kloves, who is more experienced at writing screenplays and who has long experience collaborating with Rowling. I don’t fear that her voice will be missing.

    Fantastic Beasts has so much to say about compassion, which I think is the keynote of Newt’s character. It has a strong message about conservation and caring for endangered species: perhaps I love the films most for this, as this is one of my primary causes. Newt is finding that if one cares about creatures, one has to care for the world and the people in it, which is Jacob’s strong suit. Queenie, too, possibly loves too much and cares too much, to the point of pain.

    There’s the theme of the monstrous: what makes someone a monster? I think it was Lorrie Kim who mentioned that this is the series that does not hold back about child abuse and its longterm effects. Credence, in fact, may serve as an example of what might have happened to Harry without those critical months of love and his mother’s sacrifice. Is Nagini a monster? We know her destiny, but her actress has described her as a woman who wants very much to live. She seems to reject that monstrosity the most. With that comes some implications about disability, which was hinted at but not fully explored in Harry Potter. That is too bad. Disability studies is finally finding general awareness and inclusion in books. I don’t know if you read Rick Riordan’s books, but in the Magnus Chase books (Norse mythology), there is a Deaf character who is seamlessly integrated into the plot.

    Finally, we have Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Over and over, we have the hints at forgiveness, penance–remorse, as it’s described in DH–misjudgment and mistrust. There is so much there for you, and for me, and many people to explore, and it is being overshadowed, and I am very sorry about it.

    On the other hand, Stephenie Meyer is finally giving us Midnight Sun. We need not give up hope.

  6. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Taking up the first paragraph of the comment by Melissa D. Aaron (Moonyprof), my impression from the wealth of posts I’ve read here with respect to the published screenplays is that JKR’s voice was already insufficiently clear in both the first two FB films and those published screenplays. I not only think the whole FB undertaking really can be transitioned to novel form, but can best be achieved by doing so, and dearly hope JKR will – or already does – think it worth her while to do so. All the points in the second through fourth paragraphs of the comment seem to be much better, more richly, finely achievable in novels.

  7. Doxxing means revealing someone’s true identity (as opposed to a screen name used online) and their address. You’re misusing the term.

  8. Thank you! I stand corrected.

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