J.K. Rowling, writer of the lukewarm thriller “The Casual Vacancy” and a bunch of children’s books, unfortunately continues to partake in her favoriteactivity: being a TERF. Just recently, she participated in mocking feminist writer Laurie Penny’s complex post traumatic stress disorder, part of a harassment campaign against the writer all because she wrote a trans positive book.
On March 8, Rowling celebrated International Women’s Day by continuing to be a TERF. This time, it was to say in a series of tweets that UK Shadow Minister for Equalities Anneliese Dodds needed to get a “dictionary and a backbone” in response to her attempting to define what a woman was legally. She capped off her thread by saying, “Apparently, under a Labour government, today will become We Who Must Not Be Named Day.”
One unexpected defender of trans rights jumped right in to echo everybody’s sentiments. Tinashe, the criminally underrated singer who’s honestly been the blueprint for many a modern pop girl, directly replied to Rowling’s tweet, saying, “Oh my god, SHUT UP.”
The reply is a veritable ratio—at current count Tinashe’s tweet has gotten at least 75,600 likes, as opposed to Rowling’s 17,400. While we don’t normally laser focus on anyone’s amount of likes, we’re not going to lie and say that this isn’t the best thing we’ve seen today. She said what she said and we’re taking notice.
Sure, we understand that the “correct” way to counter transphobic beliefs is not by being combative and educating them instead. However, at this point, it’s clear that Rowling is not willing to listen and is instead intent on doubling down on her harmful rhetoric. That has clear and dangerous consequences. Aside from the fact that her power and influence gives legitimacy to the ideology and allows it to be spread to more people, she’s also able to directly impact the lives of trans people. In the UK, as the recording of Anneliese Dodds points out, trans rights to self-identification continues to languish.
While TERFs love to imagine a world where trans folk are accepted by the majority and have or are close to getting legal rights (I’d love to imagine the same too, but for me it’s a dream and for them it’s a nightmare), it’s not true. Gains in trans acceptance and rights are tempered with terrible losses. Our trans siblings are continuing to struggle and fight. In the US, Texan governor Greg Abott recently instructed his department “to begin investigating reports of parents providing gender-affirming medical care to their children as child abuse.” And just yesterday, Florida passed their “Don’t Say Gay Bill” banning classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity.
So, yes, we’re cheering on Tinashe’s curt reply. Yes, queen, go off! There’s something so cathartic about a pop girl waking up and choosing violence for the good. It’s what we all want to say. We love an outspoken cis ally, plus rationing a big name TERF is just *chef’s kiss*.