Gender-critical group responds after director spotted reading NSFW Harry Potter fan fiction on train

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter looking shocked.

Gender-critical group Sex Matters has responded to claims that director of advocacy Helen Joyce was seen reading pornographic fan fiction on a train.

The organisation confirmed in a press statement later shared with PinkNews that Joyce had indeed been reading explicit fan fiction based on JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series of books, giving the explanation that it had been for research purposes.

In a thread posted on X/Twitter on Tuesday (27 February), user @dschw89 claimed to have spotted Joyce on a train to Cambridge late in the day.

After sharing pictures of the author and journalist, the user further claimed that Joyce was reading chapters of an explicit Harry Potter fan-fiction, Mudblood, which dates back to 2019. The story features Hermoine Granger and Draco Malfoy having sex.

“I realised she was there with two other leaders of Sex Matters,” the thread continued. “They’re organising some event. One of them is on the phone to talk about some Guardian article and the other is editing the website – all while Helen is casually scrolling Harry Potter porn.

“Can’t make that s**t up.”

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In response, Joyce posted a comment which seemed to confirm what she had been reading, saying it was part of research, about which, she said, she has spoken in articles and blog posts.

“The role of fan fiction in young women’s adoption of trans identities is an ongoing research project of mine. It’s incredibly powerful and hardly anyone knows about it,” Joyce said, citing a blog post from 2022 and a 2016 article in The Economist, where she has held senior roles.

“I found out about fan-fic – including the genre known as slash – by chance some years ago… Some was startling to read, but any proper journalist knows you have to do your research.”

When asked to clarify whether Joyce’s research related to any future project, a Sex Matters spokesperson told PinkNews it was part of her work in “countering the pernicious influence of gender-identity ideology”, adding: “Helen was travelling with colleagues on the train and all were working.

“Helen has done a great deal of research on how young people – especially girls – develop trans identities.

“In her writing and speaking, she has often covered the significant role of fan fiction in this process. She has written about this for The Economist and in her own newsletter, and spoken about [the] topic in several podcast interviews.”