Sir Terry Pratchett’s daughter shuts down ‘horrifying’ claims that author would be a transphobe if he were alive

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett’s daughter has shut down the “horrifying” claims that her father would be a transphobe if he were alive, urging people to simply “read the books”.

The prolific Discworld author was famed for his comical tongue-in-cheek critiques of society, genre tropes and gender norms, which he explored in more than 70 novels before he tragically died of early-onset Alzheimers disease in 2015.

Terry Pratchett’s collaborating author, Neil Gaiman, is known for expressing strong trans-inclusive views, prompting one online commenter to suggest Pratchett would have thought differently.

“I thought the fact that you write good fantasy meant that you were acquainted with reality,” they tweeted. “After learning this about you, it seems however more likely like that was Pratchett’s contribution to your partnership.”

Another agreed: “Honestly have no idea how anyone can read Pratchett, esp. the Witches, and think he didn’t know what ‘female’ is and means in the world.”

The mischaracterisation was unacceptable to Pratchett’s daughter, Rhianna, who took to Twitter on Saturday (31 July) to respond to the so called “gender critical” people trying to co-opt her father’s legacy.

“This is horrifying. My father would most definitely not be a GC if he was still alive. Read. The. Books,” she wrote.

“If you’re desperately trying to recruit the dead to your cause then you should probably have a big think about just what you’re supporting.”

To drive home her point Rhianna retweeted the author Richard Cobbett, who said: “One of the many reasons that I’m proud to be a lifelong fan of [the Discworld] series is its compassion and devotion to humanity in all of its forms – and that includes many, many characters willing to take control of their own destinies in a world that wants them to be quiet.

“But even on just this one tiny sliver of the things the books did, if [gender-critical people] can read the likes of, say, Fifth Elephant and Monstrous Regiment and go ‘Oh, yeah, totes on our side’ then… I don’t even know what to say.”

Terry Pratchett included strong trans themes in his books

Those claiming Terry Pratchett was anti-trans had clearly forgotten about his character Cheery Littlebottom, the first dwarf to present as a woman.

Although the bearded dwarf was technically cis her story had a strong transgender subtext, including her insistence on she/her pronouns and her determination to be read as female.

A flood of Discworld fans quickly chimed in to remind people of this, as well as the other gender non-conforming themes in Pratchett’s work.

But in case any doubt remains, one fan unearthed an old interview with FTL in which Terry Pratchett makes his views crystal clear.

“The people I know who are gay (and one [transgender], I think – like the dwarfs, I don’t ask people what they’re not prepared to volunteer), are mostly within the SF/fantasy fandom which appears, at least, to be quite amiable about people’s sexuality so long as they don’t act like a jerk,” he said.

When asked whether trans characters are more common and accepted in sci-fi and fantasy, Sir Terry replied simply: “As above. Without a shadow of a doubt.”