Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
J.K. Rowling's new book criticized for reportedly transphobic plot line
spotlight AP

J.K. Rowling's new book criticized for reportedly transphobic plot line

  • 0

J.K. Rowling has apparently created yet another horcrux — this time in the form of her new novel "Troubled Blood."

According to a review of the book published Sunday in The Telegraph, "Troubled Blood," published under her alias Robert Galbraith, centers on the disappearance of a woman "thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer."

"One wonders what critics of Rowling's stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress," Jake Kerridge writes in his review. ("Transvestite" is an outdated term typically used to refer to men who sometimes wear women's clothing — which is not the same as being transgender.)

Reviews from other outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian, have not referenced this detail.

JK Rowling

Author J.K. Rowling poses for photographers upon her arrival at the Nov. 13, 2018, London premiere of the film "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald."

The Telegraph review led #RIPJKRowling to trend on Twitter — not because she is dead but because people are noting that the author is killing her own career with her views. Some have used the hashtag to recommend works by trans authors; others have used it to defend Rowling's freedom to hold these views.

The book appears to lean into problematic stereotypes portraying transgender people as villains, despite studies that show transgender people face high rates of harassment and violence. Earlier this month, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte pardoned a U.S. Marine who in 2015 was convicted of killing a transgender woman because of her gender identity.

Critics have also noted that "Troubled Blood," the fifth novel in her Cormoran Strike detective series, is not the first book in the series with transphobic elements. She had previously been called out for her depiction of a trans woman in the second Cormoran Strike novel, "The Silkworm."

The "Harry Potter" author has been repeatedly criticized for making anti-transgender comments on Twitter. In June, she took offense at an op-ed that used the more inclusive phrase "people who menstruate" instead of "women."

Shortly after the backlash to those comments, Rowling published a lengthy essay on her personal website levying a number of inaccurate claims about the transgender community because she was "worried about the new trans activism."

Her concerns boiled down to the perceived safety of cisgender women in bathrooms; there is no evidence that transgender people using the restrooms that align with their gender identity puts anyone else in danger. (Studies instead show that transgender people often report experiencing harassment, assault and denial of access when attempting to use public restrooms.)

A number of "Harry Potter" actors have spoken out in support of the trans community this year in response to Rowling's comments.

35 ways Harry Potter changed the world

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

Sue Miller, author of “The Arsonist,” offers a complex portrait of a nearly 30-year marriage. Told from the point of view of the wife after the husband’s sudden death, the book spirals around a revelation of infidelity. (Harper, 352 pages, $28.99, out now)

  • Updated

Perhaps you devoured Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, featuring such beloved titles as “My Brilliant Friend” and “The Story of the Lost Child.” Consider picking up “The Lying Life of Adults,” a new coming-of-age novel that traces another young female protagonist — Giovanna — as she seeks to discover who she is as she navigates the streets of Naples. (Europa, 324 pages, $26, out now)

  • Updated

“The Office of Historical Corrections,” a novella, is presented here along with other stories that chronicle how history — racial and cultural — continues to reverberate through daily life. Danielle Evans, author of the critically acclaimed “Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self,” continues to write provocative fiction about people of color, raising questions about who gets to dictate our national narrative. (Riverhead, 288 pages, $27, Nov. 10)

  • Updated

This one doesn’t come out until 2021, but who doesn’t need something to look forward to in the new year? Award-winning science-fiction author Nnedi Okorafor will return with a new novel about a girl who’s adopted by Death itself. She’s searching for answers. Aren’t we all? (Tor, $19.99, 160 pages, Jan. 19)

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News