What Was Rowling-Galbraith Saying via ‘Career of Evil’s Transabled Characters?

Critics of J. K. Rowling’s defense of women’s rights to safe spaces, protection of children from life-damaging surgeries and chemical ‘gender transitions,’ and her pushback against transgender overreach have libeled her with the “transphobe” and “bigot” Permanent Sticking Charms. They have scoured her writings for evidence of this supposed prejudice against and fear of transgender people and found two cases to highlight: (1) Pippa Midgeley, the transgender woman-writer wanna-be in The Silkworm who is emotionally unstable, tries to terrorize a woman by shoving dog poop through her mail chute repeatedly, and attempts to kill Strike twice with a knife, and (2) Dennis Creed, the psychotic murderer and torturer of women in Troubled Blood, who was a sometime cross dresser.

I have found it curious that these critics as a rule with few exceptions do not mention the transabled characters in Career of Evil. They suffer from Body Integrity Dysphoria (BID) or apotemnophilia. You can read about the various “signs and symptoms” on the Wikipedia page for this mental disorder, but in brief the condition is the delusion that the person needs to have a limb amputated to be in their right body, i.e., they identify as “disabled” and wish to transition to that status by surgical removal of one or more limbs. Rowling’s depiction of these transabled characters in Career of Evil is as cartoons consumed by their delusions. Strike’s final comments to the pair in the Art Museum Cafe are those of a disabled man furious and disgusted with their fetishizing his unfortunate condition.

The connection with transgender people seems obvious; the term ‘Body Integrity Dysphoria’ is not an especially oblique referencing to ‘Gender Dysphoria,’ not to mention transabled/trangendered, and Strike’s comments could easily come from a Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist speaking to a transgender woman about his rights to enter a women’s changing room or restroom. Why haven’t Rowling’s critics, eager to find evidence of her supposed transphobia, overlooked this part of Career of Evil, one scrubbed from the adaptation of Strike3 for television?

The clip posted above from Matt Walsh’s film ‘What is a Woman?’ suggests an answer. Walsh in the clip brings up BID with a ‘Gender-Affirming surgeon,’ which is to say, a medical doctor who ‘helps’ transgender people ‘realize’ their gender alteration by removing their sexual organs. He asks her what she thinks of people with BID, those who want amputations so they can be living in their proper bodies. She responds that these people are obviously mentally ill (she says “kooky”). Per Walsh’s cues, the audience naturally thinks, “But it isn’t ‘kooky’ to have your breasts or penis surgically removed so you can ‘become’ the opposite sex?”

The reason transgender critics of Rowling don’t bring up the BID characters in Career may be just that they don’t see the connection between ‘Body Integrity Dysphoria’ and ‘Gender Dysphoria.’ I think it at least as likely that they do see it, and, like Walsh, they understand the connection is not flattering to the cause of ‘Gender Re-alignment Surgery’ and choose to overlook it, lest their readers be introduced to this common-sense connection of transgenderism with mental illness.