Day 6

J.K. Rowling's tweets on transgender people a 'betrayal' to LGBTQ Potter fans, says drag queen

Author J.K. Rowling's controversial remarks about transgender people felt like a "betrayal" to her LGBTQ readers, says Karla Beauty Marx.

'She is, for me, divorced from the books,' says Karla Beauty Marx

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is facing hefty backlash after she posted a series of tweets about transgender people. (Joel C Ryan/Invision/Associated Press)

Author J.K. Rowling's controversial remarks about transgender people felt like a "betrayal" to her LGBTQ readers, says Karla Beauty Marx.

"It seems incongruous that an author who could write about overcoming oppression then has very oppressive ideals," Marx, a drag queen and Harry Potter fan, told Day 6.

Rowling drew outrage Saturday on Twitter when she criticized an opinion piece published by the website Devex, a media platform for the global development community, which used the phrase "people who menstruate."

"If sex isn't real, the lived reality of women globally is erased," she tweeted.

Marx, who identifies as transgender non-binary, said the statement "completely erases" their lived experience.

"And it erases every other trans person, really. Because she not only goes after trans women, but after trans men and after non-binary people," they said.

Marx also warned that Rowling's statements could put the safety of trans teens at risk by stigmatizing their gender identities.

Karla Beauty Marx is a drag queen and master's student in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Submitted by Karla Beauty Marx)

"[They might think] 'Oh, if my favourite authors says this, maybe I shouldn't be coming out of the closet. Maybe I'm wrong,'" Marx explained.

That sort of messaging can be "something that definitely adds to trans suicide rates."

According to international studies cited by Canada's Centre for Suicide Prevention, transgender people are twice as likely to think about and attempt suicide than lesbian, gay or bisexual people.

But it added that because gender identity isn't recorded on death certificates, it can be difficult to determine exactly how many trans people die by suicide.

Marx grew up enthralled by Rowling's Potter books from a young age, identifying most with characters like Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood.

Marx has resolved not to let Rowling's statements change what the books mean to them. 

"She is, for me, divorced from the books. They are a piece of literature that stand on their own," they said.

"You don't see her transphobic views in the books.... They still have the power to enthral and entrance us. And I think that for me, they'll still be as magical."

Written by Jonathan Ore. Produced by Laurie Allan.

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