After remaining pretty low key recently, J.K. Rowling is suddenly being called out for supporting Maya Forstater, a British researcher who lost her job after tweeting that a person cannot change their biological sex. Although her last post was on 6 November promoted a Harry Potter-themed giveaway, Rowling broke her silence on Thursday by suggesting that Forstater was unfairly fired for “stating that sex is real.”
The best-selling author 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? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.”
Her comments came less than a day after Forstater lost a court challenge against her former employer, the Centre for Global Development (CGD), an international think tank that campaigns against poverty and inequality. According to The Guardian, Judge James Tayler ruled that Forstater’s views did “not have the protected characteristic of philosophical belief.”
Tayler dismissed Forstater’s claim that her tweets should have been protected under the 2010 Equalities Act.
“I conclude from the totality of the evidence, that [Forstater] 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,” Tayler wrote in a 26-page judgment. “The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”
The news struck a chord with Rowling, who then publicly sided with Forstater on social media. Many viewed Rowling’s language and support of Forstater as very transphobic, and critics called the author a “TERF” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) for backing someone with a clear record of making transphobic comments.
“Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. CC: JK Rowling,” the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, tweeted in response.
Rowling has yet to address the criticism directly, but the damage has already been done, as countless Harry Potter fans are left to grapple with the fact that the widely beloved author could maintain such problematic beliefs.