In the days after J.K. Rowling, the author behind the hugely popular fantasy series Harry Potter, published a slew of transphobic tweets, many celebrities and organizations have responded by doubling down on their support for the transgender community. And one particularly powerful response came by way of genderqueer pop vocalist King Princess.
Previously, on Saturday (June 6), Rowling shared a Devex article detailing the structural health care issues that people who have periods may face, and which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to the story’s headline, which referred to “people who menstruate” in inclusively non-gendered terms, the British writer tweeted, “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” Numerous people across social media were quick to point out her mistake: that it is not only women who menstruate. Other folks, including some trans men and nonbinary people, have periods; there are also plenty of women who do not.
The following day, King Princess shared a passionate response via Instagram, warning that Rowling’s comments could isolate the queer audience of her franchise — which communicated the power of love, community, and diversity to topple oppressive power structures. She wrote, “First of all, I don’t think especially now, that you realize the accidental queer haven you created in your books for so many kids within the [LGBTQ+] spectrum. Right now you are telling countless trans/femme kids that they basically didn’t deserve to be a part of that Utopia.”
Rowling’s tweets went on to incorrectly align sex and gender, and King Princess had thoughts on that, as well. “You feel like your womanhood is attacked by a movement towards trans equality?” she asked. “What does this AT ALL have to do with you and your womanhood and why do you feel so angry?” Rowling, who has come under fire in the past for making similarly insensitive comments, has not issued an apology.
Futhermore, many social media users were baffled by Rowling’s decision to make this statement in the midst of a global pandemic, and as demonstrators around the globe gather to protest police brutality against the Black community and mourn the murders of unarmed Black citizens, including Tony McDade and Nina Pop, both of whom were trans. King Princess’s statement reflected that confusion, concluding by urging Rowing to “please ask yourself why you are talking, why you are disrupting this movement with your confusing words, and why, as a writer, you feel the need to attack a group of people who most likely sustained your business for many years.”
But King Princess wasn’t the only public figure to speak out. Amidst the controversy, Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang in the adapted film series, addressed criticism regarding the Ravenclaw seeker’s name. “So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes…,” she tweeted, followed by a thread that included links to resources supporting Black trans people and other LGBTQ+ people of color. Leung concluded with a post that read, “#AsiansForBlackLives.”
And Daniel Radcliffe, who starred in the Harry Potter movies as the titular Boy Who Lived, shared a heartfelt, written statement with the Trevor Project, a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth. “Transgender women are women,” he wrote on Monday (June 8). “Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo [Rowling] or I.”