After J.K Rowling was called a threat to children for her views, a transactivist suggested sending in photos of penises to a children’s competition.
Beloved author of the Harry Potter’s series, J.K. Rowling, started a new project directed to younger readers during lockdown in May, 2020. She wrote a children’s story, called The Ickabog, which for many years she thought was going to be only “for her own children”. After the success of her stories about a boy with magical powers, Rowling wrote two other books aimed for an adult audience, and the Ickabog went to the attic, according to her own words on the Ickabog’s website.
Recently, she took to the task of organising and reviewing the story again, with her own children, and decided to post it online for free, so children could read it during quarantine. The project also revolves around young readers making their own illustrations of the story – Rowling gives daily suggestions of what to draw but also reinforces that kids are free to use their imagination. She shares kid’s drawings everyday on her Twitter account, praising them.
This week, after taking upon herself the task of sharing hundreds of drawings made by the young readers of The Ickabog, aged between 7 and 12, under the hashtag for the project, she tweeted a praise to a nine year old girl that read:
“I love this truly fabulous Ickabog, with its bat ears, mismatched eyes, and terrifying bloodstained teeth! In court, Wolf claimed the Facebook post in which he’d said he wanted to ‘f*** up some TERFs’ was just ‘bravado.‘”
The highlighted part refers to Maria MacLachlan’s case, a feminist who was attending a Woman’s Place UK meeting in December 2017, a women’s organisation created after transactivists demanded a reform of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act (GRA) to allow self-identification without the current health checks necessary to get a GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate). Mrs MacLachlan was 61 years old when she gathered with other feminists at Speaker’s Corner, in London, to attend the meeting, which had had two locations cancel the event after threats of violence.
Mrs MacLachlan was accused of physically assaulting transactivists protesting the meeting and forced to refer to her assailant by female pronouns, but video evidence proves that she was herself pushed to the ground and physically assaulted with punches and kicks for trying to film their protest.
A first hand account of the assault confirmed that Machlahan was filming the protesters shouting and one of them attempted to smash her camera. The accusation that she herself was the perpetrator comes from the fact that she tried to retrieve her camera back, according to a feminist who spoke anonymously to Uncommon Ground Media: “A couple of transactivists had attacked this woman who was filming the crowd, who I now know to be Maria McLachlan. There was a pile on by several of them on her, it was awful. She ended up on the ground.”
J.K. Rowling’s tweet, taken down as soon as she spotted the error, sparked an online pile on, with transactivist @swampfaery inciting followers to send “pro-trans art and like dicks and stuff”.
The behaviour of this Twitter user raises serious concerns about the safety of children and teenagers online. In 2015, the Brazilian children’s spin-off of the TV reality show “MasterChef”, called “MasterChef Junior,” brought women together to fight against paedophilia after Twitter users began to write sexual comments about one of the participants, a 12 year old girl. The episode sparked the hashtag #MeuPrimeiroAssedio (My First Sexual Harassment) and enraged women not only because of the content of the comments, but also because the men posting it thought it was acceptable to do so, according to The Washington Post. After the shocking tweets about the girl, “tens of thousands of women took to social networks to share stories of sexual harassment and abuse they had endured as children and teenagers”.
According to the Edinburgh News on Sunday, May 31 2020, Rowling apologised for her tweet after taking it down, but confirmed on social media that it was not because she regrets her support of Mrs MacLachlan, but because of the foul language included when the tweet was intended to be praise for a little girl’s drawing. Rowling also stated that nobody would shame her away from reading about MacLachlan’s case and that she recognised the injustice done to her.
In response to her tweet, transactivists tried to defame J. K. Rowling by insinuating that she “can’t be trusted around children”. The user Nicola Spurling, a Canadian, was asked to take down her tweet after the author said she was going to ask her lawyers to deal with the matter. This encouraged further libel from transactivist Dr. Harrop, who compared Rowling with Jimmy Savile. He later tried to retract his allegations and removed his tweet too.
J. K. Rowling has been under heavy online attack since last year, around Christmas, when she tweeted her support to British feminist Maya Forstater, who got her contract with a UK government body not renewed after she started tweeting about the dangers of conflating “sex” and “gender identity” in legislation.
Rowling has consistently affirmed that she believes biological sex to be material reality, enraging hundreds of transactivists who believe this view is “transphobic”.