GLAAD Responds to Harry Potter Creator JK Rowling's Controversial Comment

Following a firestorm of controversy raised after Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling tweeted support of a British researcher fired for making transphobic comments, the author has drawn the ire of GLAAD, one of the longest-standing LGBT rights groups in the world. GLAAD reportedly reached out to set up a conversation with Rowling, but she declined to meet with them. While many fans have voiced support of Rowling and criticized those attacking her as taking her out of context, this is not the first (or second) time Rowling has made public statements that have been viewed as anti-transgender. She has also received criticism for stating after the series was over that Albous Dumbledore was a gay man. Critics feel that she wants the "credit" for introducing a gay character but did not actually provide LGBT representation in order to get it.

In the case of today's tweet, Rowling stood up for Maya Forstater, whose firing was upheld by a British court after she repeatedly voiced anti-transgender beliefs in the workplace, and allegedly misgendered at least one colleague (she later said she has forgotten the colleague's preferred pronouns). She tweeted that Forstater's former employer had "force[d] women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real." Her comments drew fire online almost immediately.

"J.K. Rowling, whose books gave kids hope that they could work together to create a better world, has now aligned herself with an anti-science ideology that denies the basic humanity of people who are transgender," wrote GLAAD's head of talent, Anthony Ramos (via USA Today). "Trans men, trans women, and non-binary people are not a threat, and to imply otherwise puts trans people at risk. Now is the time for allies who know and support trans people to speak up and support their fundamental right to be treated equally and fairly."

The court found against Forstater in part because she refused to accept the validity of Gender Recognition Certificates, which are a document with the power of law in the United Kingdom. They entered UK law in 2005 after a bill passed in 2004.


In his ruling, which you can read in full here, the judge said, in part, "Similarly, I do not accept that there is a failure to engage with the importance of the Claimant's qualified right to freedom of expression, as it is legitimate to exclude a belief that necessarily harms the rights of others through refusal to accept the full effect of a Gender Recognition Certificate or causing harassment to trans women by insisting they are men and trans men by insisting they are women. The human rights balancing exercise goes against the Claimant because of the absolutist approach she adopts."