Harry Potter author JK Rowling, 55, came under fire after she responded to an online article about healthcare inequality, which used the phrase “people who menstruate”. In response to this, she replied: “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
I don’t think what she said was offensive really.
She later tweeted: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction.
“If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.
“I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
The author’s comments were swiftly branded transphobic by many social media users, which sparked an online debate.
Robbie Coltrane on JK Rowling backlash: ‘I don’t think what she said was offensive’
JK Rowing sparked a debate on social media for comments she used on Twitter
Now, Harry Potter actor Robbie Coltrane, 70, has spoken out about the backlash, admitting he doesn’t think she intended to be offensive.
He said: “I don’t think what she said was offensive really.
“I don’t know why but there’s a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended.
“They wouldn’t have won the war, would they? That’s me talking like a grumpy old man, but you just think, ‘Oh, get over yourself. Wise up, stand up straight and carry on’.”
JK Rowling shared a series of tweets after addressing ‘people who menstruate’
Robbie Coltrane said there’s a ‘whole Twitter generation waiting to be offended’
In his interview with this week’s Radio Times, he added: “I don’t want to get involved in all of that because of all the hate mail and all that s***, which I don’t need at my time of life.”
Back in June, the author shared further comments in a thread about her views.
She added: “The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is a nonsense.
“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.
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“I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans.
“At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”
JK later shared a lengthy post about her comments as she addressed her personal experiences following backlash.
As part of her essay on her website, she wrote: “It’s time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity. I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity.
“I’ve met trans people, and read sundry books, blogs and articles by trans people, gender specialists, intersex people, psychologists, safeguarding experts, social workers and doctors, and followed the discourse online and in traditional media.”
She went on to say her interest in trans issues pre-dated Maya Forstater’s case by almost two years “during which I followed the debate around the concept of gender identity closely”.
Maya Forstater lost her job as a researcher after she criticised the UK government for allowing people to self-identify their gender.
JK went on to say she had been researching trans-issues for months to educate herself.
She added: “All the time I’ve been researching and learning, accusations and threats from trans activists have been bubbling in my Twitter timeline.
“This was initially triggered by a ‘like’. When I started taking an interest in gender identity and transgender matters, I began screenshotting comments that interested me, as a way of reminding myself what I might want to research later. On one occasion, I absent-mindedly ‘liked’ instead of screenshotting.
“That single ‘like’ was deemed evidence of wrongthink, and a persistent low level of harassment began.”
Read the full interview in Radio Times Magazine – out now.