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JK Rowling deliberately misgenders trans activist India Willoughby

Rowling and Willoughby have clashed over trans views in the past

Tom Murray
Tuesday 05 March 2024 14:26 GMT
JK Rowling in lengthy explanation over transgender comments

JK Rowling is facing backlash again after deliberately misgendering trans activist India Willoughby.

The Harry Potter author has faced repeated criticism in recent years over her views on transgender rights, saying previously that she would rather go to jail than refer to a trans person by their preferred pronouns.

On Sunday (3 March), Rowling shared a lengthy tirade against the idea of trans women being allowed in female locker rooms, writing: “When men – all men, however they identify – are banned from women's spaces, those who disregard the ban can be challenged, inside the space and out.”

Rowling responded to a Twitter/X user who sent her a video of Willoughby, with the user asking: “Hi Joanne, so you are saying this lady should use the men’s locker room then?!”

In response, Rowling wrote: “You’ve sent me the wrong video. There isn’t a lady in this one, just a man revelling in his misogynistic performance of what he thinks ‘woman’ means: narcissistic, shallow and exhibitionist.”

“If India Willoughby is a ‘misogynist’ why did she become a woman? Think,” the user replied.

JK Rowling (left) and India Willoughby (Getty Images)

Rowling wrote back: “India didn't become a woman. India is cosplaying a misogynistic male fantasy of what a woman is.”

Willoughby is Britain’s first transgender newsreader and the first transgender co-host of an all-women talk show, Loose Women on ITV.

Willoughby responded to Rowling’s comments on Monday, writing on X: “Genuinely disgusted by this. Grotesque transphobia, which is upsetting. I am every bit as much a woman as JK Rowling. Recognised in law, and by everyone I interact with every day. The debate about whether JK Rowling is a transphobe is over.”

In a separate tweet, Rowling added: “Accurately sexing trans-identified men who send misogynistic abuse to women is not discrimination. ‘Man’ is not a slur. I know a lot of you think the UN should intervene whenever women bruise your egos, but there is no human right to universal validation.”

Willoughby took the row a step further by later tweeting: “If I ever get murdered, you know who to blame. #StochasticTerrorism.” Stochastic terrorism refers to when popular figures publicly demonise a person or group in such a way that inspires their supporters to commit a violent act against the target of the speech.

This is not the first time the pair have clashed over gender views. In January last year, Willoughby tweeted: “I’m more of a woman than JK Rowling will ever be”.

This was screenshotted and shared by the Harry Potter author, who captioned it with “citation needed”.

Last week, Rowling hit out at Sky News for referring to murderer Scarlet Blake as a woman in its reporting.

Blake was jailed for life after being convicted of the murder of Jorge Martin Carreno as part of a sexual fantasy inspired by a Netflix documentary.

After it emerged that the killer had transitioned to female, Rowling criticised Sky News for referring to her as a woman on X/Twitter, saying: “I’m so sick of this s***. This is not a woman. These are #NotOurCrimes.”

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