J.K. Rowling, best-selling author of the "Harry Potter" books, faced intense backlash after publicly supporting a researcher who lost her job for tweeting that a man or woman cannot electively change their biological sex.
The researcher, Maya Forstater, went viral after she revealed she lost her job as a result of the remarks.
What did Rowling say?
Rowling entered the fray on Thursday on Twitter, writing, "Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who'll have you. Life your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill."
Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live y… https://t.co/z8FKHmPOnV— J.K. Rowling (@J.K. Rowling) 1576760256.0
Forstater, 45, was a visiting research fellow at the Centre for Global Development when she made the remark in September that cost her a job.
On social media, she wrote, "What I am so surprised at is that smart people who I admire, who are absolutely pro-science in other areas, and champion human rights & womens rights are tying themselves in knots to avoid saying the truth that men cannot change into women (because that might hurt mens feelings)."
@jdgeipel @Nave_Som What I am so surprised at is that smart people who I admire, who are absolutely pro-science in… https://t.co/992OB8VQud— Maya Forstater (@Maya Forstater) 1538328169.0
She challenged her termination, but employment judge James Tayler ruled this week that Forstater's firing was legitimate because her beliefs were offensive because they violated a person's "dignity" and created an environment that was "intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive," The Guardian reported.
The backlash from Rowling's support of Forstater was swift and intense.
What did people say?
The Human Rights campaign tweeted, "Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. CC: JK Rowling."
Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. CC: JK Rowling.— Human Rights Campaign (@Human Rights Campaign) 1576767222.0
Author Casey McQuiston added, "Hi. breaking my hiatus real quick just to say: f*** what your childhood heroes say. trans people are real. trans people deserve to be protected, recognized, supported, and loved. if that infringes on your idea of feminism, you're not actually a feminist at all. you're a bigot."
At the time of this writing, Rowling's tweet has received more than 58,000 likes as well as 12,700 comments.
According to the Guardian, Forstater is in "shock and disbelief" over the judgment.
“My belief … is that sex is a biological fact, and is immutable," she said. "There are two sexes, male and female. Men and boys are male. Women and girls are female. It is impossible to change sex. These were until very recently understood as basic facts of life by almost everyone."
She continued, "This judgment removes women's rights and the right to freedom of belief and speech. It gives judicial license for women and men who speak up for objective truth and clear debate to be subject to aggression, bullying, no-platforming, and economic punishment."
“I will consider the judgment closely with my legal team to determine what can be done to challenge it," she added.