The Harry Potter author JK Rowling has been heavily criticised for following the “self-professed transphobe” YouTuber Magdalen Berns on Twitter.
Berns has uploaded numerous anti-trans videos to YouTube with titles including, “There is no such thing as a lesbian with a penis,” “Gender is NOT a social construct,” and “Non binary bullsh*t.”
Berns has also called for people to stop using the term TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist), saying it is an attack on free speech.
Rowling’s following of the account was discovered by pro-transgender account Trans Advocate, who tweeted a screenshot and noted that Rowling had followed Berns during Pride month.
Cool. So, for #Pride2019, @jk_rowling is following a proud youtube transphobe. pic.twitter.com/06EuMDU2nn
— transadvocate (@transadvocate) June 23, 2019
Rowling has previously liked a tweet which called transgender women ‘men in dresses’, but when questioned on this Rowling’s representative explained: “I’m afraid JK Rowling had a clumsy and middle-aged moment and this is not the first time she has favourited by holding her phone incorrectly.”
But this latest slip has led fans to suggest that Rowling actually does share Berns’ anti-trans views, particularly in light of the fact that she also follows numerous other ‘anti-trans’ accounts on Twitter.
so the question that you in no way need answered, that you probably weren’t thinking about at all until you saw this tweet, is:
“Is J.K. Rowling a terf?”
I just went through all the accounts she follows — it’s a pretty small list, under 700 — and here’s what I found.
— kiva, labyrinthine (@persenche) June 23, 2019
The discovery was met with disappointment from many of Rowling’s fans, who say they cannot support the Harry Potter franchise if she shares Berns’ stance on transgender people.
So the author who makes me like reading when i was younger is just a terf…
I love the world she created, i can’t change that, but i don’t want to give her a cent… I guess i’ll have to stop buying merch, but i’ll keep my books.
— Pandốra (@Eva_Nyaa) June 23, 2019
like I’m still a hp fan bc those books fucking raised me but my new official stance is fuck JK Rowling, download the books illegally, read trans fanfic, buy fan created merch, and read everything critically https://t.co/E2PuCQskUL
— lesbian dad (@bigdoggenergy) June 24, 2019
Others have highlighted the harmful impact of someone of Rowling’s fame and influence endorsing these views.
Spreading and promoting hate speech promotes harm. Doing so when you have the reach and public profile of JK Rowling is degrees of magnitude more harm than most people will inflict by doing the same.
— Endocriminologist (@Quasinym) June 25, 2019
PinkNews reached out to Rowling’s representatives for comment, and were told: “J.K. Rowling won’t be commenting. However, we know she follows on Twitter a wide range of people she finds interesting or thought-provoking.”