For us autistics, J.K. Rowling is promoting the ignorant belief that autistics are not able to figure things out about themselves on their own. She is using autism, our autism, as a weapon to defend her very transphobic beliefs.
By Dana Trick
For those who haven’t heard, recently J.K. Rowling, the author of the famous Harry Potter book series and movie franchise, has published transphobic tweets on her Twitter account, with the most damaging one being her manifesto where she attempts to rationalize her transphobia.
To better understand what the manifesto says, here’s a YouTube Video that elaborates and explains the transphobia in detail as well as providing information that disproves her argument:
I urge you to watch this video before resuming reading my blog post as the video does a better explanation of it than I could ever do. Please be respectful and listen.
As a Harry Potter fan since childhood, what J.K. Rowling has said hurts. As an autistic women who has been a Harry Potter fan since childhood, what J.K. Rowling claims is insulting.
The manifesto itself is a very shallow and ignorant attempt to portray trans rights and an attack on women’s rights, and only harms both groups.
In one section of the manifesto, the author attempts to weaponize autism in her argument against transgender people. She claims, with no citation for the source of this information, that autistic girls are over represented in a supposed “increasing” number of trans men detransitioning.
However, as the YouTube video above explains, this statement is inaccurate, misleading, and harmful to women, trans people, and autistics.
What J.K. Rowling had written about autism in this section of her essay serves as a painful example of how ableism is utilized to promote hatred and invalidation of various minority groups and their basic right to live as who they are.
For us autistics, J.K. Rowling is promoting the ignorant belief that autistics are not able to figure things out about themselves on their own.
Rowling is using autism, our autism, as a weapon to defend her very transphobic beliefs. This statement does not help autistics as it does not address or include the actual issues that so many autistics suffer from and does not provide actual solutions for them.
I’m stunned to see an author that I once looked up to so much during my childhood and who created a book series that encourages tolerance would use my autism to promote hatred of another group that simply wants to live their lives true to themselves. To make this horrible situation more painful to me, there is a theory that the protagonist Newt of the new addition to the Harry Potter film franchise, Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them, has autism through the actor’s portrayal in the films.
This character is one of the few genuine and empathetic portrayals of an autistic person on film that doesn’t rely on harmful and outdated stereotypes of autism—but J.K. Rowling’s weaponizing autism to promote her transphobia is a betrayal to her autistic fans and the character Newt himself. What J.K. Rowling has written has insulted and invalidated the autistic community as well as the autistics in the LGBTQA+ community. Despite the horrible and ignorant ableist belief that so many abled people preach, I am happy to be autistic.
I love my autism, and I HATE IT when someone uses it as a weapon to attack other minorities.
As a response to the author’s transphobia, most of the Harry Potter fan community and the cast for the Harry Potter movie franchise has been outspoken against J.K. Rowling’s beliefs and shown their support for the LGBTQA+ community. While this response is wonderful, I feel like that one ableist comment is not treated with the same outcry as the transphobia.
I am not trying to undermine the cruel transphobia in the author’s essay and diminish the wrongfulness of transphobia in all of its forms, but her weaponization of a disability as well as women’s rights is dangerous to all minority communities. What makes this so dangerous is that it portrays one minority’s call for rights as an obstacle and/or an antagonist to another minority’s call to rights. If one minority group is weaponized against another minority groups to gain the civil rights they need, they’ll never be successful.
I won’t allow this to take away my love and value in my autism and my autistic community. I want to show my support for the trans community with this blog, and if what I said in here is incorrect, please correct me with valid and peer-reviewed sources in the comment section—and please be respectful.
I’ve noticed that there is no response from autistic community, except for those autistics who are in the transgender and LGBTQA+ community. This worries me greatly. As I frequently pointed out during this blog post, J.K. Rowling’s transphobic essay is also ableist and will most probably cause more damage to the autistic community as well as the trans community due to her very influential platform as the author of the famous Harry Potter franchise. When someone uses a minority to attack and invalidate another minority, both minorities suffer greatly. Yet when one minority helps another minority when they are attacked, they will both become powerful and strong.
I respect J.K. Rowling’s right to free speech but she is using her platform to spread misinformation that would drastically harm the trans community. I now know that she doesn’t value the trans community’s right to free speech, the autistic community’s right to free speech, and my right to free speech. A person’s right to the freedom of speech should not be used to justify their prejudice and discrimination towards people who are different them. As someone who read and loved her books throughout my childhood and teenage years, what she is trying to promote goes against the very nature of the book series—to accept and respect all forms of life, and to fight hate with love. I am no longer supporting the author and all of her works, including the Harry Potter series.
I’ll remember my experience with Harry Potter as a beloved childhood memory, but I now must leave it so I can support causes and groups J.K. Rowling has attacked. Though Harry Potter was once my entire world, I have meet and read other authors who are not that level of prejudicial hypocrisy as J.K. Rowling as shown.
For the trans people who are hurt by J.K. Rowling’s horrible transphobic essay, I support you! Please tell me what us in the autistic community can do.
For further elaboration on the intersectionality between autism and trans identity, please read the following article: “Autism and Transgender Identity: Implications for Depression and Anxiety”
Dana resides in Moorpark, California. She spends too much of her time reading books (fantasy, fiction, history, poetry, comics), drawing weird things that suddenly appear in her head, writing stories and poems and listening to a strange assortments of music genres that she isn’t sure what type of music fan she is.