J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, got into some toil and trouble Saturday when she responded to a publication that ran a headline pondering a “more equal post-COVID world for people who menstruate.”
The celebrated writer found it perplexing that there wasn’t a better way to describe individuals who experience menstrual cycles.
Unsurprisingly, the internet mob immediately descended, accusing Rowling of being homophobic, transphobic, and insensitive. She was having none of it. Instead, Rowling defended the biological necessity of gender in preserving women’s rights, particularly for the lesbian community. She set one angry tweeter straight when they tried to suggest she didn’t have enough perspective.
Rowling is no conservative puritan. Last year, she stirred controversy when she seemed to confirm that some characters in her Harry Potter universe were gay. Her statement was widely celebrated among progressive fans.
“But as happens in any relationship, gay or straight or whatever label we want to put on it, one never knows really what the other person is feeling. You can’t know, you can believe you know,” Rowling continued. “So I’m less interested in the sexual side – though I believe there is a sexual dimension to this relationship – than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other, which ultimately is the most fascinating thing about all human relationship.”
The Harry Potter scribe continued to defend her position without apology.
Rowling’s voice joins a growing chorus of women who are questioning the logic of invalidating gender while at the same time fighting for women’s rights. In February, three Connecticut high school girls filed a lawsuit against the state to prevent biological males from competing in women’s sports.
Will Rowling stick to her guns and survive the internet mobs? Or will she succumb to the pressure and issue an apology?
Place your bets.