JK Rowling and YouTuber Vaush Spar Over International Women’s Day Tweet

The controversy over Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s International Women’s Day tweet has spilled over into Amerigo Vespucci Day.

On Tuesday, Rowling shared a tweet that some users found transphobic. That day, the UK’s left-wing Labor Party’s Equalities Shadow Minister Anneliese Dodds said on the BBC Woman’s Hour radio program that there were “different definitions” about what makes a woman. Dodds was speaking in a discussion about Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which would make it easier for transgender people to change their legal gender.

“Someone please send the Shadow Minister for Equalities a dictionary and a backbone. #HappyInternationalWomensDay,” Rowling tweeted.

“Apparently, under a Labor government, today will become We Who Must Not Be Named Day,” she added.

In response, popular left-wing YouTube personality Ian “Vaush” Kochinski slammed the writer Tuesday afternoon.

“All JK Rowling had to do was shut the f*** up and she could have been almost uncritically beloved for like a century,” Vaush wrote. “Women be quieter and start apologizing challenge”.

Almost exactly 24 hours later, Rowling replied, attaching a screenshot of his tweets.

“What you and your ilk fail to appreciate is how tediously familiar I find your tactics. I had a violent ex-husband who used to tell me life would be great if only I’d comply, but you’re making the same mistake he did. Women like me can’t be bullied out of resistance,” she wrote.

Vaush replied about 10 minutes later in the thread, addressing the author directly.

“Listen Joanne you don’t get to play the victim card when you’re the advocate for taking away women’s rights here,” he wrote. “Trans women are raped and killed in men’s facilities and you want to keep them there because of your trauma. Quit making your feelings other people’s oppression”

He later retweeted Rowling’s complaint, accusing the author of being a “crybully,” a person who plays the victim while harassing others, according to dictionary.com.

“Complaining about how victimized you are when when you’re a billionaire being mocked for opposing civil rights is the height of crybullying,” Vaush wrote.

“Harry Potter” author JK Rowling, shown here at the 2019 RFK Ripple of Hope Awards, is in an argument with YouTuber Vaush over her comments on International Women’s Day.
Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Rowling has been repeatedly accused of transphobia. She denies having any animosity towards trans people, writing, “I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.”

The flashpoint launching the majority of accusations against Rowling was her support of Maya Forstater, who had an unpaid visiting fellow affiliation with the Center for Global Development not renewed, following comments about trans people. The Center for Global Development told Newsweek that its decision not to renew Forstater’s affiliation “in part as a result of the distress and harm to staff members that was caused by a series of disrespectful and offensive statements that Ms. Forstater made inside and outside CGD, related to trans people.”

Forstater has stated that she does not believe that transgender women should be able to identify as women. She also compared transgender women to Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who led the Spokane, Washington NAACP chapter while pretending to be Black.

“I honestly don’t see the difference between Rachel Dolezal’s internal feeling that she is black and a man’s internal feeling that he is a woman (ie adult human female). Neither has basis in material reality,” Forstater wrote in one of the tweets she identified as leading to her firing.

In an essay titled “TERF Wars”—in reference to the acronym for “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist”—Rowling said that her previous abuse at the hands of her ex-husband made her fear that men may lie about being transgender in order to gain entry to women’s-only spaces.

While Rowling wrote that “the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others, but are vulnerable,” she believes that “When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.”

However, those that disagree—including the UK’s center-left party, the Liberal-Democrats—point out that very few single-sex spaces require anything beyond someone’s word that they belong there.

“In this sense, we already have Self-ID in most cases, so the claim that it would lead to a particular problem with predatory men using it as a ‘loophole’ systematically has a problem: why isn’t it happening already?” the LGBT wing of the Liberal-Democrats write on their official site about debunking common anti-transgender talking points.

“The sad truth is that predatory men have plenty of ways to target women without putting on a dress and pretending to be a woman. The way to combat them is through specifically prohibiting harmful behaviors (as we already do),” it continues.

Update (3/9/2022, 10:10 pm): This article has been updated with additional information about Forstater’s departure from the Center for Global Development.

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