Elon Musk just asked JK Rowling to lighten up about trans folks – yes, really

In a post no one expected on their 2024 bingo cards, Elon Musk has asked Harry Potter author JK Rowling to tweet less about trans people and instead share “interesting and positive content”.

“While I heartily agree with your points regarding sex/gender, may I suggest also posting interesting and positive content on other matters?” the billionaire, who brought the social media platform in 2022, wrote on X/Twitter in response to a month-old post by the Harry Potter author about the definition of a woman.

The original tweet seems to have now been deleted.

The response came as a surprise to many given Musk’s own often controversial views on trans rights.

“Imagine the levels of obsession you have to reach for Elon Musk to ask you to talk something else,” activist Thomas Willett wrote.

“I am absolutely cackling,” another account wrote. “Elon goddamn Musk is now gently suggesting that she should maybe find another hobby. Yes this is a real tweet.”

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The SpaceX CEO has previously stated “pronouns suck” and the word ‘cisgender’ – which is used to describe non-trans people – is “heterophobic”. In response, the pro-free speech businessman took steps to define the phrase as a slur on the platform under its hate speech and harassment policy.

Since taking over Twitter, which he subsequently renamed X, Musk has taken steps to roll back protections for trans people on the platform, including the ability to report transphobic abuse.

In April 2023, X/Twitter quietly dropped a longstanding policy protecting transgender people from targeted deadnaming and misgendering.

Prior to the decision to remove it, the platform’s hateful content policy read: “We prohibit targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanise, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”

The removal of the final sentence was described by LGBTQ+ nonprofit GLAAD at the time as “the latest example of just how unsafe the company is for users and advertisers alike”.

However, in recent months it appears the social media platform has reversed the decision, with misgendering and deadnaming once more banned as long as an offensive post is reported directly by the target.