JK Rowling 'profoundly grateful' for supportive letter over transphobia allegations

September 28, 2020

JK Rowling has expressed her gratitude over a letter signed by well-known figures supporting the author over allegations of transphobia and "an insidious, authoritarian and misogynistic trend in social media".

The Harry Potter writer has received strong criticism and online abuse for her stance on gender identity but has vehemently denied accusations that she is transphobic.

Authors Ian McEwan and Lionel Shriver, actors Griff Rhys Jones and Frances Barber, and TV writer Graham Linehan are among 58 people who signed the letter, which appeared in The Sunday Times.

Comments wishing Rowling dead on social media are "just the latest example of hate speech directed against her and other women that Twitter and other platforms enable and implicitly endorse", it said.

Also signed by playwright Sir Tom Stoppard and actors Alexander Armstrong, Ben Miller and James Dreyfus, the letter continued: "We are signing this letter in the hope that, if more people stand up against the targeting of women online, we might at least make it less acceptable to engage in it or profit from it."

It follows reviews of the author's new book Troubled Blood - her latest detective novel in the Cormoran Strike series, which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith - which revealed it featured a male murderer with a fetish for women's clothing.

After reviews were published, #RIPJKRowling trended on Twitter.

Earlier this year, Rowling, 55, received abuse on social media after objecting to the term "people who menstruate" being used instead of "women" in an online article.

Harry Potter stars including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redmayne, star of the spin-off Fantastic Beasts, were among those to publicly speak out against her.

Responding to the letter on Twitter, Rowling wrote: "My weekend was heavy (in the very best sense!) on family and light on reading the news, so I only realised this morning that this letter appeared in the Sunday Times yesterday.

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"I'm profoundly grateful to all the signatories, not only on a personal level, (though believe me, I'm EXTREMELY grateful on that level), but because the signatories are showing solidarity with all the women who're currently speaking up for their own rights and facing threats of violence and even death in return.

"This is also an opportunity to express my gratitude once more to the thousands of people who've sent me personal emails and letters of support. I'm trying to respond to all of them, so please forgive me if I haven't yet got to yours!"

In response to the article headlined "Creating a more equal post-Covid-19 world for people who menstruate" earlier this year, Rowling tweeted: "'People who menstruate.' I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

After a huge backlash, she wrote a lengthy blog post on her website, revealing she is a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor as she defended her right to speak about trans issues.

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