J.K. Rowling sparks backlash after tweeting support for British woman fired for transphobic comments

ABOVE: J.K. Rowling in 2010. (Photo by Daniel Ogren, from Flickr)

J.K. Rowling, author of the massively popular Harry Potter series, sparked intimidate backlash after tweeting support for Maya Forstater, a researcher on business and international development who was fired from The Center for Global Development (CGD) in London after comments that were seen as transphobic.

“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 tweeted Dec. 19.

Rowling’s tweet came after Forstater lost a court case against CGD for wrongful termination. “I am taking CGD to the Employment Tribunal for discrimination on the grounds of belief, to try to establish that I should not have lost my job simply for expressing my beliefs about sex and gender on my personal Twitter account,” Forstater  wrote on the crowdfunding website CrowdJustice. She had posted on the site to raise funds for her legal team.

According to The Guardian, Judge James Tayler ruled that Forstater’s views did “not have the protected characteristic of philosophical belief.” Tayler concluded that, based on the totality of the evidence, Forstater “is absolutist in her view of sex and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

Twitter exploded with comment, accusing Rowling of being a trans-exclusionary radical feminist, or TERF. The hashtags #TERF, #JKRowling and #TransRightsAreHumanRights were among the top trending terms on Twitter Dec. 19.

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