Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling has come under fire by critics for her use of “a transvestite serial killer” in her latest novel.
Since 2013 Rowling has authored a series of detective novels known as the Cormoran Strike series, which follow the adventures of the titular private eye and Afghan War veteran Cormoran Strike, under the pen name Robert Galbraith.
The first four Cormoran Strike books have since been adapted into miniseries for the BBC. The fifth entry in the series, Trouble Blood, set to release to the public on September 15th.,
While details of Troubled Blood’s plot remained under wraps during its production, a review from the UK-based newspaper The Daily Telegraph informed its readers that “the meat of the book is the investigation into a cold case: the disappearance of GP Margot Bamborough in 1974, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer.”
It should be noted that the character of Creed is never referred to as a transgender individual and is explicitly stated to be a ‘cis’ male. The character and his victim are also fictitious and were not based on any real-world individuals.
This brief description of the character from The Daily Telegraph sparked a wave of anger directed towards Rowling as many accused the author of once again supporting transphobia.
Vanity Fair declared that Rowling “Proves Her Commitment to Transphobia in Her New Novel” and claimed the author “now appears to be bringing her TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) logic to a bookshelf near you.”
Twitter user @irisckp asserted that “this woman is unhinged” and warned that “the amount of damage with could cause to the trans community is f—-ing horrifying.”:
After #RIPJKRowling began to trend on Twitter due to the sheer amount of outrage being expressed towards Rowling, @msprobellematic played off of the hashtag and wished Rowling would “rot in piss ugly transphobic piece of trash”:
Critics also took issue with the depiction of a trans individual as a violent criminal in Rowling’s second Cormoran Strike novel The Silkworm.
In the novel, Strike is stalked and eventually stabbed by a trans woman named Pippa. After Strike regains control of the situation, he reveals that Pippa is a trans woman, describes her masculine hands and Adam’s Apple, and tells the woman “won’t be fun for you.… Not pre-op.”
As of writing, Rowling has not publicly responded to the backlash.
What do you make of Rowling’s situation? Was her use of a transvestite character truly transphobic? Let us know on social media or in the comments down below!