J.K. Rowling is being called “transphobic” for defending Maya Forstater

20 December 2019, 14:23 | Updated: 13 November 2020, 00:02

By Sam Prance

Who is Maya Forstater and what did J.K. Rowling say about trans people on Twitter?

J.K. Rowling is coming under fire over a recent tweet she published in defence of transphobic researcher Maya Forstater.

Maya Forstater is a tax expert who was recently let go from the Centre for Global Development after she posted transphobic tweets claiming that “men cannot change into women". She was also caught misgendering trans people online and publicly opposed government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to self-identify as the opposite sex.

READ MORE: 21 explicit JK Rowling memes that will ruin Harry Potter for you

This week (Dec 18), Maya lost an employment tribunal case. The judge ruled that she "is absolutist in her view of sex and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment."

Now J.K. Rowling is facing backlash for saying she "stands with Maya" and making transphobic comments of her own.

J.K. Rowling slammed for transphobic comments defending Maya Forstater
J.K. Rowling slammed for transphobic comments defending Maya Forstater. Picture: John Phillips/Getty Images, @jk_rowling via Twitter

Taking to Twitter yesterday (Dec 19), J.K. tweeted for the first time since September. She wrote: "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?" She then added: "#IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill".

Trans people and allies immediately began calling J.K. out for her comments. One person tweeted: "Maya Forstater didn't lose her job because she believes biological sex is real. Her contract wasn't renewed bc the charity she worked for saw she'd been attacking trans people and deliberately misgendering them online. That’s it. That’s how deep it is."

Writer Jamie Windust added: "The idea that this was in fact a decision by trans people to find her guilty, rather than a literal judge again wrongly points the blame at trans people, causing more illegitimate fear. Also if we could live our 'best life' with 'security' we wouldn't be here would we. We can't."

Meanwhile, performer Amrou Al-Kadhi wrote: "That JK Rowling was able to imagine a world where spells could split the soul and conceal parts of it inside inanimate objects yet is unable to countenance the idea that transphobia is an affront to human rights is depressing as fuck."

Celebrities including Olly Alexander and Jameela Jamil have also criticised J.K. for her comments.

This isn't the first time that J.K. Rowling has been accused of transphobia. In 2017, the Harry Potter author liked a tweet that linked to a transphobic Medium piece and, in 2018, she liked a tweet which called trans women “men in dresses”.

It goes without saying that transphobia is wrong and CGD's decision to fire Maya was justified. As it stands, J.K. Rowling is yet to respond to the public backlash to her comments. We shall update you if she does.