Author J.K. Rowling Image Credit: AP

It appears to be a case of one step forward and two steps back for ‘Harry Potter’ author JK Rowling who is facing backlash following a spate of comments on social media that are being called ‘transphobic’.

The author, who has generated a lot of street cred since she announced she would release a free online serialisation of ‘The Ickabog,’ a bed-time story she wrote for her children 10 years ago, undid it all following a series of comments on her Twitter.

The 54-year-old author shared an opinion article from a global health website titled ‘Creating a More Equal Post-COVID-19 World for People Who Menstruate’ and shared her confusion with the phrase ‘people who menstruate.’

“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out” she tweeted.

People on Twitter immediately called out Rowling, labelling her comments “transphobic” as transgender people, non-binary people and gender-nonconforming people can also menstruate. Rowling followed that tweet up by criticising the idea that someone’s biological sense isn’t real.

“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth,” she wrote. “The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women — ie, to male violence — ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences — is a nonsense.”

“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so,” she further added.

The LGBTQ rights organisation GLAAD responded to Rowling’s comments, saying the author has aligned herself with an ideology that “wilfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans.”

Singer and music producer Brad Walsh also responded to the author’s tweets, writing, “You’re a smart person. How do you not yet understand the difference between sex and gender? The only way I can possibly explain your ignorance at this point is willfulness. It’s incredibly disappointing.”

Singer, songwriter and model Kim Petras also called out Rowling saying: “Maam ... read the room and post about BLM! how is this the right time to go off on this?”