doubling down

JK Rowling misgenders trans activist and accuses her of “cosplaying” as a woman

Harry Potter author JK Rowling appears to be doubling down on her previous criticisms of trans people and trans rights. Although claiming to respect trans people in the past, she’s posted several tweets in the last few days blasting trans people accessing single-sex spaces that match their gender identity.

This is nothing new for Rowling. However, she took aim at a particular trans activist in the UK, India Willoughby.

Willoughby was Britain’s first trans newsreader. She has often appeared on TV shows to talk about her experiences as a trans woman.

On Sunday, Rowling again reiterated her opposition to trans women in women-only spaces. On X, she said, “When men – all men, however they identify – are banned from women’s spaces, those who disregard the ban can be challenged, inside the space and out.”

One respondent posted a video clip of India Willoughby and asked if Rowling seriously believed the journalist belonged in a men-only space.

Rowling responded, “You’ve sent me the wrong video. There isn’t a lady in this one, just a man revelling in his misogynistic performance of what he thinks ‘woman’ means: narcissistic, shallow and exhibitionist.”

“A misogynistic male fantasy of what a woman is”

Another user challenged Rowling’s assertion that Willoughby is misogynistic.

“If India Willoughby is a ‘misogynist’ why did she become a woman? Think!” they said.

Rowling fired back, “India didn’t become a woman. India is cosplaying a misogynistic male fantasy of what a woman is.”

In a further post yesterday, Rowling again criticized Willoughby. She posted a screenshot of a tweet in which Willoughby had joked about kidnapping several high-profile opponents of trans rights and gender self-ID.

“For reference, this is the individual whose precious feelings are more important than truth, according to some of his fellow men,” said Rowling. “If you think women calling this person a man is more offensive than him publicly fantasising about kidnapping women, I can’t help you.”

Rowling has millions of followers online. Many agree with her opposition to trans rights and applauded her comments about Willoughby. However, others were aghast. Some were quick to point out that, whatever Rowling may believe, Willoughby is legally a woman under UK law.


Willoughby posted a tweet expressing disgust at Rowling’s comments.

“Genuinely disgusted by this. Grotesque transphobia, which is upsetting. I am every bit as much a woman as JK Rowling. Recognised in law, and by everyone I interact with every day. The debate about whether JK Rowling is a transphobe is over.”

This morning, Willoughby posted a further tweet saying she’d been flooded with hateful messages following Rowling’s tweets.

“The virtual UK news blackout on Saint JK Rowling’s indisputable transphobic bullying of me yesterday – resulting in some of the most vicious and vile messages I’ve ever received (trending on Twitter) – is nothing short of breathtaking,” said Willoughby.

This is not the first time Rowling and Willoughby have clashed online. Last year, Willoughby posted, “I’m more of a woman than JK Rowling will ever be.” Rowling posted a screenshot of the tweet and added her own caption, saying “Citation needed.”

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