I wrote this before my own reaction


JK Rowling recently told Graham Norton that her new novel, “The Ink Black Heart,” is not based on her own experience of being labeled transphobic, despite featuring a character in a similar social media storm (via Rolling Stone). The new book, published under Rowling’s pen name Robert Galbraith, is part of Rowling’s “Cormoran Strike” series of crime thrillers and features a character named Edie Ledwell, a “creator of a popular YouTube cartoon who sees Internet trolls and her own fans to turn on her after the cartoon was criticized as racist and ableist, as well as transphobic for a hermaphrodite worm.”

As Rolling Stone reports, the novel’s character “posts pictures of her home on the Internet, receives death and rape threats for having an opinion, and eventually finds herself stabbed to death in a cemetery. The book clearly targets ‘Social Justice Warriors’ and suggests that Ledwell was the victim of a masterfully engineered, politically fueled hate campaign against her.’

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“I should make it really clear after some of the things that have happened in the last year that this does not portray [that]Rowling told Norton, arguing that her own fight against allegations of transphobia had nothing to do with the book’s inspiration. “I had written the book before certain things happened to me online. I said to my husband, “I think everyone is going to see this as a response to what happened to me,” but honestly it wasn’t. The first draft of the book was finished at the point where certain things happened.”

Rowling has been the subject of controversy for several years due to her gender beliefs and a series of anti-transgender tweets published in 2020. Rowling then argued that the gender identity debate negates biological sex. Several “Harry Potter” stars have spoken out against Rowling for her beliefs, including Daniel Radcliffe. The actor wrote a letter that “trans women are women…Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all the advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise in this matter than the Jo or me.”

Earlier this year, Rowling sparred online with Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, over the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which aims to simplify the means by which a transgender person can legally change their gender through obtaining a gender recognition certificate. The certificate allows a transgender person to obtain a new birth certificate with the correct gender.

“The law Nicola Sturgeon is trying to pass in Scotland will harm the most vulnerable women in society: those seeking help after male violence/rape and women in prison,” Rowling posted on Twitter despite the bill being tabled in Parliament. “Statistics show that incarcerated women are already far more likely to have been abused in the past.”

Sturgeon said she “fundamentally disagreed” with Rowling over the claim that the reform bill would “harm the most vulnerable in society”. The Prime Minister emphasized that the bill is a matter of procedure and will not change safe spaces for women.

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