The New York Times attacked Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling (again!) for stating the obvious reality that only women have the ability to menstruate. London-based reporter Jenny Gross’s piece made Monday’s paper: “Groups Label Author’s Post On Twitter As Insensitive.”
The story featured only critics of Rowling, long targeted by radical transgender activists on Twitter for her stubborn adherence to the biological reality that men are men and women are women.
But the story’s bigger journalistic crime was an editorial detail. The original URL link at the top of the story (preserved here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/arts/jk-rowling-terf-transphobic.html) actually contained the slur “terf,” a derogatory and decidedly un-journalistic acronym employed by trans activists to smear their feminist opponents.
It stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists.” The URL also included the insult “transphobic,” though the link now resolves into a more conventional URL. (The term “terf” had previously appeared in the Times only in trans-activist opinion pieces.)
J.K. Rowling, the creator of the popular “Harry Potter” series, came under fire from L.G.B.T.Q. groups after she took aim at an article that referred to “people who menstruate.”
“An estimated 1.8 billion girls, women and gender nonbinary persons menstruate, and this has not stopped because of the pandemic,” wrote the authors of the article, which was published on the media platform Devex.com.
On Saturday, Ms. Rowling wrote on Twitter, where she has 14.5 million followers: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Her Twitter post appeared to be responding to a line that described the “menstrual health and hygiene needs of girls, women and all people who menstruate.”
The backlash was swift, with users calling out her comments as being anti-transgender people.
One user wrote on Twitter: “I decided not to kill myself because I wanted to know how Harry’s story ended. For a long time, that was all that kept me alive. Until I met my husband who helped me learn to love myself and to want to live. You just insulted him to my face.”
Glaad, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy organization, condemned Ms. Rowling’s comments. “Looking for some summer reading?” the group wrote on Twitter. “‘Percy Jackson’ author Rick Riordan isn’t transphobic.”
Ms. Rowling responded with messages relating to sex and to her support for transgender people.
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” she wrote on Twitter. “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
The paper referenced an earlier Rowling transgender tiff:
Even before the December post on Twitter, there had already been suspicions among some L.G.B.T.Q. supporters that Ms. Rowling held negative views of transgender people. In 2018, she liked a Twitter post that referred to transgender women as “men in dresses.”
Times reporter Liam Stack also denounced Rowling for similar wrongthink in December 2019.