A Like says lot.
Especially when it is a photo posted of a transgender woman, identifying as a lesbian, captioned with humiliating references to male genitalia and deliberate misgendering.
JK Rowling liked this.
Like the countless times before when Ms. Rowling has quietly endorsed hatred and bigotry ensconced in 247 characters, she did so sending a clear, if not altogether saddening message. In the past, when she has liked transphobic statuses by anti-trans antagonists or radical feminists with an anti-trans agenda, she tried to explain it away when people began to ask questions; Through her publicist, she once dismissed it as a “Clumsy, middle aged moment.”
But they persisted, those pesky “Middle Aged Moments.” She continued, specifically, almost intentionally knowing that many of those curious, perhaps needing some salve for their unsettling suspicions regarding her position on transgender women, were watching.
The once beloved author boasts a massive readership, a large proportion of which identifies as LGBTQ+ thanks to her Harry Potter franchise, the story of an outcast who must topple controlling figures and lay to rest a tough childhood in order to find his path and become who he was meant to be. For many LGBTQ+ individuals, it was relatable on many levels and were a formative part of their youth.
Indeed, many fans watched agog as Rowling publicly liked explicitly anti-trans news article by the notoriously anti-trans journalists at The Times. Some sat in shock as she, being selective in who she follows on social media, populated her newsfeed with blatant hatred and venom toward transgender women by following people like Magdalene Burns, a self described “Proud TERF” who compared transgender women to blackface actors and advocated for violence against them.
Rowling’s transphobic tendencies became so glaringly self-evident that I concluded she was saying everything…. without saying a word. She was virtually communicating her beliefs and social/political opinions on transgender women and her staunch disapproval of them, so I wrote one final article of evidence detailing her behavior over the last several years. There was no doubt she was making her stance clear, and I said so.
That article went viral, and Potterheads everywhere went into a frenzy, sending me hate mail, writing articles about me, referring to me as He/She/It, even doxxing me. Snopes covered the article and labeled it as “False” — at the time…
…Until In the past year, when Rowling passionately defended a British woman who had been fired from her job for using anti-trans rhetoric in caustic tweets aimed at invalidating transgender identities.
The author of the Snopes article wrote to me afterward, explaining they were changing the status of their coverage of my article from “False” to “Mixture.” Their reticence being only that Rowling had still not verbally spoken on the subject.
In December of last year, I was contacted by a gentleman named Fred Sargeant. He had been tussling with several trans women on twitter, baiting them with inflammatory questions intended to provoke and antagonize them when I fell onto his radar over an article I’d written here. Mr Sargeant, who says he was a participant in the Stonewall riots, authored two lengthy direct messages he sent to my inbox, both of which I ignored. Having already seen him in action, I knew his goal was to open a line of dialog and then dog whistle his followers to attack me.
He pursed me on Twitter in public, continuing his string of increasingly incendiary attacks on transgender women, growing more hostile towards anyone who engaged him. Eventually, I stopped replying to him completely, regretting I ever had, well aware I knew better- as I knew his motive, and it had been made evident by then. Unmistakably. Despite my ignoring him, he was like a dog with a bone. He wouldn’t stop.
Probably a week later I was surprised to have a notification that he had tagged me in a post.
I just shook my head and rolled my eyes, well aware that he was, indeed, exactly the character I had presumed he was. I know it was meant to be an insult, but if the LGB Alliance invests as much time in helping actual LGB people, many of whom experience discrimination, relentless bullying and higher suicide rates, I was glad to do my part.
I didn’t hear from Fred anymore after that, thankfully. The whole event was rather disheartening, honestly. This was a man present at the birthplace of LGBTQ rights. This is one of the elders of my community that I have always looked to for hope, inspiration, guidance and wisdom. Yet, this man tried over and over again with incredible, bizarre determination to negatively impact me in some form or fashion, online.
Today, when logging onto twitter to join my LGBTQ+ family in our echo chamber as we celebrate International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, I was greeted with this tweet of a screen capture:
After covering Rowling and her antics for two years, was I surprised she had found a new friend in my old nemesis, Fred?
Was I shocked that she would approve of the publishing of someones photograph in order to smear them and create yet another TERF pile on that must be endured by an innocent party who dare use Twitter while transgender? That, I admit, was a new low I hadn’t expected.
Historically, the more one bullies, abuses and viciously attacks transgender women on Twitter, the more likely Rowling is to quietly align with them, either with a soft nudge of approval on a disgusting tweet, or a follow ensuring their toxic thought stream feeds directly into her own timeline.
I doubt Rowling will ever confess to her loathing of transgender women. Yet, she will certainly continue posturing herself offensively, non-verbally, signalling to her vocal- and abusive cohorts in every way she can so that solidarity between them is understood and recognized via her practices.
But, we’ve all got the message now, haven’t we? It is sad enough as it is, do we really need a monologue of hate spewing forth to accept that this is simply who she is, and this is, unquestionably, her stance.