J.K. Rowling has attracted criticism after tweeting her response to an article about menstruation and has been accused of being transphobic.
The Harry Potter author shared her reaction to an article on Twitter titled "Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate", writing: "'People who menstruate.' I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?".
Her comment attracted a great deal of criticism, with many pointing out that some people who identify as women do not menstruate and that some who identify as transgender men or non-binary do.
Rowling defended herself against accusations of transphobia, going on to explain her feelings on the idea of sex.
"If sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction. 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," she wrote.
"The idea that women like me, who've been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they're vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence – 'hate' trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences is nonsense.
"I respect every trans person's right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I'd march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it's hateful to say so."
She also said that she had read many "books, blogs and scientific papers by trans people, medics and gender specialists", adding: "I know exactly what the distinction is. Never assume that because someone thinks differently, they have no knowledge."
Rowling previously faced a backlash in 2019 after she tweeted her support for a woman who lost her job after saying that she thinks a person cannot change their biological sex.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.
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