JK Rowling misgenders trans journalist India Willoughby in ‘grotesque’ social media post

Side by side images of Harry Potter author JK Rowling and trans journalist India Willoughby

JK Rowling misgendered trans journalist India Willoughby and accused her of “cosplaying a misogynistic male fantasy of what a woman is” in a social media post described by Willoughby as “grotesque”.

The Harry Potter author has faced repeated backlash in recent years because of her comments on the trans community, even saying she’d “happily do two years” in jail instead of using a trans person’s pronouns

On Sunday (3 March), Rowling posted a lengthy statement on X/Twitter to express her belief that trans women, whom she misgendered, should be “banned from women’s spaces”

She claimed that allowing trans women into “female only spaces on the basis of their claim to be a woman” removed an “obstacle that has hitherto been proven to increase women and girls’ safety”. 

Then, a social media user flagged a video of Willoughby, who is Britain’s first out trans newsreader and first trans co-host of ITV’s all-women talk show Loose Women, to Rowling. The individual asked JK Rowling if she believed India Willoughby “should use the men’s locker room”. 

The Harry Potter author responded, misgendering Willoughby: “India didn’t become a woman. India is cosplaying a misogynistic male fantasy of what a woman is.”

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Willoughby wrote that she was “genuinely disgusted” by the “grotesque” comments.

“I am every bit as much a woman as JK Rowling,” she said. 

“Recognised in law, and by everyone I interact with every day. The debate about whether JK Rowling is a transphobe is over.”

Several people online also called out JK Rowling’s misgendering of Willoughby and the anti-trans remarks in her lengthy post on social media. 

In response to the backlash, Rowling doubled down on her remarks, using the term “trans-identified males” to mean trans women – once again misgendering trans women. 

“‘Man’ is not a slur,” she wrote. “I know a lot of you think the UN should intervene whenever women bruise your egos, but there is no human right to universal validation.”

JK Rowling posted another statement regarding India Willoughby, using masculine pronouns when referring to her and calling the trans broadcaster a “man”. 

While she has denied being transphobic, JK Rowling has frequently posted comments attacking the trans community online, supported a gender-critical activist and even featured a character who was cancelled for being anti-trans in her 2022 novel The Ink Black Heart

Her remarks irrevocably changed the way many fans viewed the author. Several stars across the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchise have spoken out against Rowling’s statements, showing their support for the trans community. 

Still, Rowling claimed in a 2023 podcast that she’s been “profoundly” misunderstood and “never set out to upset anyone”

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