After writing perhaps the best-selling children’s book series in history, one might imagine that J.K. Rowling would have stepped out of the limelight to pursue a more peaceful, comfortable life. Instead, over the past nine months, the author of Harry Potter has decided to direct her energy into doubling and tripling down on her unsolicited opinions about trans women — namely, her belief that trans women do not actually qualify as women.
Despite receiving widespread backlash and tarnishing her reputation as one of the most beloved authors of all time, it appears that Rowling is at it again. Tomorrow, Troubled Blood — the fifth book in Rowling’s Cormoran Strike mystery series, which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith — is scheduled to publish. And while not much about book’s contents is known publicly, an early review published by the Telegraph already has people incensed. According to the review by Jake Kerridge, the book centers on the disappearance of a woman who is believed to be a victim of “a transvestite serial killer.” The moral of the book, per Kerridge’s assessment, is “never trust a man in a dress.”
As Kerridge suggests, the idea of a “transvestite serial killer” isn’t likely to go over well with readers — especially in light of Rowling’s past rhetoric. In one of Rowling’s lengthy screeds about trans women, she argued, for instance, that gender-neutral bathrooms could put cis women in grave danger, writing, “When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman … then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.”
Following the Telegraph’s review, writer Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir tweeted that Rowling had employed “deeply harmful tropes about our community. But she doesn’t care — this is deliberate. It’s gross.” Another person tweeted, “As JKR should very well know, words are powerful, and why she would choose to use her words to hurt a vulnerable group of people is beyond me.”
This isn’t the first time the Comoran Strike series has come under fire for callousness and insensitivity towards the trans community. In The Silkworm, the second book in the series, one of the story’s suspects is a trans woman named Pippa Midgley, who Marie Claire describes as a “pitiful, high-strung, violent character with no sense or self-preservation.” Rowling also makes multiple references to Pippa’s assigned sex at birth in the book, noting her “prominent” Adam’s apple and calling her voice “as rough and loud as a docker’s.” It also includes an exchange in which a detective tells Pippa that prison “won’t be fun for you … Not pre-op.”
Rowling’s publisher did not immediately reply to the Cut’s request for comment.