Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has garnered criticism after supporting a woman whose contract was not renewed because of anti-transgender comments she made on social media.
Maya Forstater, a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, did not have her contract renewed by her employer after tweeting “men cannot change into women”; a response to the Gender Recognition Act, a law proposed in the U.K. to allow trans people to self-identify their gender.
I see that #IStandWithMaya is trending – the same Maya Forstater who tweeted that "men cannot change into women"? She deserves to lose the case. Trans-exclusionary radical feminism deserves to be reprimanded because, as you can see, more often than not it's grossly transphobic pic.twitter.com/eyqeMAwW34
— kennedy ✰ (@kennedy_mp3) December 19, 2019
According to a post Forstater made on Medium back in May, she appealed her employer’s decision, arguing that her statements were protected under the U.K.’s Equality Act 2010 and likening them to “other religious or philosophical beliefs.”
On Thursday (December 19), Rowling tweeted her support of Forstater, claiming she was “forced” out of her job “for stating sex is real” and hashtagging the post #IStandWithMaya.
Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019
Rowling received backlash not only from people on social media, but LGBTQ advocacy organizations as well.
“[T]he World Health Organization—among countless other medical authorities—validate trans people in their authentic gender identity,” said Charlotte Clymer, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. ‘It is quite clear [Rowling] doesn’t understand the first thing about the trans community or the science at play.”
With all due respect, my guess is Maya will be just fine and doesn’t need anyone to stand with her.
Trans folks, however, are among the most vulnerable and marginalized people in the world.
I choose to stand with them.
— andy lassner (@andylassner) December 19, 2019
It’s important we come together as a community and a fandom to send the message that JK Rowling’s opinions aren’t okay. We’ve donated 20% of this months proceeds from our patreon to Mermaids, a charity that supports gender diverse & transgender young people.
— Goblet Of Wine Podcast (@GobletOfWinePod) December 19, 2019
This is not the first instance of the author receiving flak over anti-trans sentiments. In 2018, Rowling liked a tweet likening support for trans people to “misogyny.”
— Camp as Christmas (@Philip_Ellis) March 21, 2018
Rowling’s reps issued a statement apologizing for the like, insinuating that it was unintentional and she only “had a clumsy and middle-aged moment.”