This is not a drill: it’s time to #cancel JK Rowling

Rori Porter
Dec 19, 2019 · 4 min read

I am not very fond of cancel culture. Typically you see cancel tactics used against people who lack power, which is my biggest problem with how you see “canceling” implemented. Cancel culture can be toxic and often seeks to destroy the lives of average people who made mistakes online. You see people doxxed and threatened, and in this way cancel culture is very dangerous. When wielded as a weapon against people who can’t hold their ground and fight back or issue an apology through a PR firm, cancel culture can be devastating. This is why there is such a movement against cancel culture — it’s not equitable.

But JK Rowling is not that person. She is a celebrity with enormous brand properties, financial resources, legal assistance, PR firms, and security, all amounting to a person who has the means to weather a social media storm.

Rowling commands an enormous audience and she has historically misused her platform in ways that can only disenfranchise minority people. Hook-nosed goblin bankers, anyone? Oh, and how about the two instances of Asian representation only serving as props for white characters? How about native cultures gleefully being appropriated to add realism to her “Fantastic Beasts” backstories?

Do I even need to mention the insult of retroactively making a character gay, rather than admitting that Rowling didn’t know how to be representative of LGB people in the 90s?

JK Rowling is a celebrity who needs to be boycotted and “canceled” as a means of minimizing her reach to children.

The fact is, JK Rowling needs to be taken to task before a trans kid spirals out because of her words and dies by suicide.

Today, JK Rowling sent out a tweet that is making waves through my community.

lol. Did I say waves? It’s a fucking hurricane.

“Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotaDrill”

Rowling’s tweet is referring to anti-trans activist Maya Forstater, who recently lost a lawsuit in which she challenged that she should have the right to be transphobic in the workplace and that her views are protected under U.K.’s Equality Act.

As hate speech, what Maya Forstater says is not protected in the UK, and the judge overseeing her trial sided with the company, therefore Forstater’s termination was upheld in court. A privately held company has every right to terminate someone for publicly espousing views that constitute hate speech. “Offensive and exclusionary” language is not a right in the UK.

You may not understand why this is causing such a kerfluffle in the trans community. This may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but so much of our community found a home in Rowling’s books that this news is quite devastating to a lot of us, particularly in the 20–35-year-old range. The “sex is real” comment is nothing more than a transphobic dog whistle for “trans people aren’t real and I shouldn’t have to respect them.”

Sadly, Rowling couldn’t apply her teachings to her understanding of trans people or other marginalized communities that she’s appropriated to make her very white, very cis, very heterosexual stories seem more inclusive.

When people with this large of a platform come out against trans people, children die. Rowling has done something not just ignorant, but incredibly dangerous to the trans kids reading her stories today.

Even if she tweets an apology after her PR agency finishes yelling at her, this isn’t forgivable. She has all of the resources in the world to educate herself, and she aggressively chose the wrong side of history.

For that, we must boycott her. Trans allies must stop supporting her stories because as it stands, she’s probably now one of the most influential TERFs in history.

Sometimes cancel culture is necessary to lessen the reach of people who ought not to be reaching the minds of children.

JK Rowling wields her power with little to no regard for the damage she can cause by using her massive platform to kick a community that is already struggling to thrive in a world that wants us dead. Rowling is feeding into a culture that makes it harder for us to live, and if she cannot get on the right side of history she does not deserve our patronage. All that remains of the author is the shadow of a woman who once taught us how to love those different than ourselves.

It’s depressing to acknowledge, but Rowling fell into the trap of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism, and if she was a lesser celebrity I’d be giving her more room to be wrong, but Rowling is extremely powerful.

To respond directly to one of Rowling’s lines of condescension directed at people specifically like me: I cannot live in peace and security when massive public figures can express such disdain for my existence and then have Twitter mobs come to their defense.

JK Rowling is a bigot and she has earned your boycott.

Rori Porter

Written by

Hi, my name is Aurora, but you can call me Rori. I’m transfemme and use she/her pronouns.

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