Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
J.K. Rowling's new book criticized for reportedly transphobic plot line
spotlight AP

J.K. Rowling's new book criticized for reportedly transphobic plot line

  • Updated
  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}

Cloaked and wands at the ready, fans of the wizarding world returned to the "Harry Potter" film sets on Thursday (August 20) morning as the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London reopened following a five-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

J.K. Rowling has apparently created yet another horcrux — this time in the form of her new novel "Troubled Blood."

According to a review of the book published Sunday in The Telegraph, "Troubled Blood," published under her alias Robert Galbraith, centers on the disappearance of a woman "thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer."

"One wonders what critics of Rowling's stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress," Jake Kerridge writes in his review. ("Transvestite" is an outdated term typically used to refer to men who sometimes wear women's clothing — which is not the same as being transgender.)

Reviews from other outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian, have not referenced this detail.

The Telegraph review led #RIPJKRowling to trend on Twitter — not because she is dead but because people are noting that the author is killing her own career with her views. Some have used the hashtag to recommend works by trans authors; others have used it to defend Rowling's freedom to hold these views.

The book appears to lean into problematic stereotypes portraying transgender people as villains, despite studies that show transgender people face high rates of harassment and violence. Earlier this month, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte pardoned a U.S. Marine who in 2015 was convicted of killing a transgender woman because of her gender identity.

Critics have also noted that "Troubled Blood," the fifth novel in her Cormoran Strike detective series, is not the first book in the series with transphobic elements. She had previously been called out for her depiction of a trans woman in the second Cormoran Strike novel, "The Silkworm."

The "Harry Potter" author has been repeatedly criticized for making anti-transgender comments on Twitter. In June, she took offense at an op-ed that used the more inclusive phrase "people who menstruate" instead of "women."

Shortly after the backlash to those comments, Rowling published a lengthy essay on her personal website levying a number of inaccurate claims about the transgender community because she was "worried about the new trans activism."

Her concerns boiled down to the perceived safety of cisgender women in bathrooms; there is no evidence that transgender people using the restrooms that align with their gender identity puts anyone else in danger. (Studies instead show that transgender people often report experiencing harassment, assault and denial of access when attempting to use public restrooms.)

A number of "Harry Potter" actors have spoken out in support of the trans community this year in response to Rowling's comments.

35 ways Harry Potter changed the world

Stay up-to-date on what's happening

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

NONFICTION: Anna Qu tells the harrowing tale of working in her parents' sweatshop. "Made in China" by Anna Qu; Catapult (224 pages, $26) ——— To write about trauma, memoirist Debra Gwartney advises, "when the action is hot, write cool." Anna Qu's debut memoir "Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor" embodies this guidance. Qu writes with clarity and restraint about her Cinderella-terrible ...

FICTION: A heartfelt story set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula about a single mom trying to provide for her gifted daughter. "Tin Camp Road" by Ellen Airgood; Riverhead Books (304 pages, $27) ——— With close to 9 million acres of forest framed by 1,700 miles of shoreline, it's hard to beat the vast, pristine beauty of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. For Laurel Hill and her daughter, Skye, there is ...

Few people have had as much to say about the American diet as Mark Bittman. Between his bestselling cookbooks, four television series and 30-year run covering food for the New York Times, Bittman, 71, entrenched himself in America’s kitchens. But his latest tome goes further than teaching readers what to eat and why. With a multi-millennial sweep, he uses cuisine to track the evolution of Homo ...

"Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story" by Julie K. Brown; Dey Street Books (464 pages, $27.99) ——— "Perversion of Justice" tells two terrible stories and one uplifting one. The terrible ones are about the appalling criminal career of child rapist Jeffrey Epstein and the efforts of countless powerful people to protect him from its consequences. The uplifting one is about the ...

“Secrets of the Force: Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Wars” by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman; St. Martin's Press (576 pages, $29.99) ——— The Force was not with him. The studio didn’t understand his script. The crew thought he was an idiot. Even his friends thought he was making a mistake. But George Lucas made “Star Wars” anyway. And it made him and remade Hollywood. ...

It's been ages since I belonged to a book club. The last one I was in endured about five years and dissolved before I started this job, which is probably a good thing for me, since this job is sort of a one-person book club. (Assign book to myself. Read it. Write up assessment. Assign another book.) As I recall, I both loved the book club and chafed at it. I loved getting together with friends ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alerts