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J.K. Rowling, the author behind the massively popular "Harry Potter" books, has fans in an uproar over her latest novel.
Rowling's new book, "Troubled Blood," which will be released Sept. 15, is the fifth novel in her Cormoran Strike detective series, which she pens under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The books follow Strike, a London private eye, and his partner Robin Ellacott, as they solve mysteries (and battle potential romantic feelings for each other). In "Troubled Blood," Strike and Robin are investigating a decades-old disappearance, and "they come up against a fiendishly complex case with leads that include tarot cards, a psychopathic serial killer and witnesses who cannot all be trusted," according to the book's synopsis.
However, a recently-revealed plot detail has left some fans fuming before the book's release. The serial killer featured in the book is a cisgender man who dresses as a woman during his murders, according to book review published in The Telegraph. Given Rowling's history of anti-trans comments, this revelation sparked widespread fury, with Telegraph reviewer Jake Kerridge even noting, "One wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make of [the] book."
#RIPJKRowling quickly started trending on social media after the review, with users expressing outrage at Rowling, claiming she is perpetrating the transphobic trope of the "trans serial killer" (seen most notably in "Silence Of The Lambs"). As users pointed out, trans people are disproportionally affected by violence; trans people in England are twice as likely to be victims of crime then cisgender people, according to the Guardian.
Rowling has drawn criticism repeatedly in the last year for her comments about the trans community. In June, Rowling retweeted an op-ed piece that discussed “people who menstruate,” and expressed displeasure the article didn't use the term "women."
“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she wrote.
After her tweet was condemned as transphobic, Rowling doubled down, tweeting, "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. 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—i.e., to male violence—‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences—is a nonsense."
She concluded, “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.”
Rowling then wrote an essay about her beliefs on her website, claiming she's supportive of the trans community and has been the victim of harassment — but again reiterated her disagreement with transgender identity.
"But endlessly unpleasant as its constant targeting of me has been, I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it. I stand alongside the brave women and men, gay, straight and trans, who’re standing up for freedom of speech and thought, and for the rights and safety of some of the most vulnerable in our society: young gay kids, fragile teenagers, and women who’re reliant on and wish to retain their single sex spaces. Polls show those women are in the vast majority, and exclude only those privileged or lucky enough never to have come up against male violence or sexual assault, and who’ve never troubled to educate themselves on how prevalent it is," she stated.
Rowling once again made comments on Twitter slammed as transphobic when she liked a tweet comparing hormone therapy to antidepressants, calling use of the drugs "pure laziness."
“Many health professionals are concerned that young people struggling with their mental health are being shunted towards hormones and surgery when this may not be in their best interests,” she insisted. “Many, myself included, believe we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people, who are being set on a lifelong path of medicalisation that may result in the loss of their fertility and/or full sexual function.”
"Harry Potter" stars like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redmayne sent messages of support to the trans community after Rowling's tweets.
Rowling has yet to respond to the controversy around "Troubled Blood."
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