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What is a TERF? JK Rowling Using More Transphobia to Defend Transphobic Rant Makes Her One

Image credits: Wikimedia Commons.

Image credits: Wikimedia Commons.

We don't like this tale at all, JK Rowling.

Raka Mukherjee
  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 11, 2020, 4:29 PM IST
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TERF, also written as terf, is an acronym for a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

The acronym, which was coined in 2008 by Viv Smythe, has now become a part of our vocabulary - and people use it to attribute and define the people who refuse to consider trans-women as a part of their feminist narrative.

One recent use of this word has been linked to Harry Potter author, J.K Rowling, who stirred a huge row after she went on a transphobic rant on Twitter.

And now, the most searched query on Google around JK Rowling is-- What is terf?

It all started when Rowling quote tweeted a piece titled: "Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate."

"‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?" Rowling tweeted suggesting only women menstruated.


The fact that she automatically excluded anybody on the entire gender spectrum, who don't menstruate and still identify as women in one single swoop was enough to make her a TERF, for her willingly excluding anything but biological women from the narrative. But she didn't stop there. She used more transphobia to defend her transphobia.

The most glaring one, of her acute transphobia was the one where she tried to project herself as an ally.


"I'd march with you if you were discriminated against."

Trans-people have been marching. They've literally always been pointing out their problems which has been theirs only and not shared by biological women, but to say you're empathetic, when you don't have a single instance proving yourself as an ally, highlights the fact that you think of trans-people as a collective 'other'.

Rowling further defended her statements more recently, in a blog post where she called herself a victim of domestic abuse, and wrote, "I'm mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who've been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces."

There is no such thing as single-sex spaces, as trans women who identify as women should be part of those spaces. To limit it to biological women is still excluding them from the narrative.

Read more: JK Rowling Needs to Know that Menstruation is Not a Gendered Experience, Or Just Stick to Fiction

Meanwhile, several of her fans who have decided to distance themselves from her donated the amount they spent on Harry Potter merchandise to trans support groups. Two of the lead actors of her movie adaptations have spoken out disagreeing with her.

Read More: After JK Rowling’s Transphobic Rant, Fans Are Using Harry Potter Merchandise to Support Trans Groups

While JK Rowling has been the most vocal about denying her transphobia and perpetuating that she is indeed an ally, her comments further 'other'-ing them from safe spaces, proves just the opposite. We don't like this tale at all, JK Rowling.

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