Playing the pain card

Even when pointing out that Rowling’s new novel isn’t all about a trans woman, it’s imperative to put the boot in anyway. After several paragraphs of plot summary to make clear that the minor character who puts on lady-coat and a wig isn’t trans and isn’t the main suspect, the final paragraph gets to the boot.

Perhaps some will still consider this depiction transphobic, given Rowling’s rightly widely criticised views on trans people.

How different that sentence would have been without the “rightly.” Miles less ugly and clumsy, for a start – “Rowling’s rightly widely criticised views” – that is a mess. But substantively – who says “rightly”? I say “wrongly” so now what do we do? It’s not just a simple fact that the criticism of what Rowling said was all “rightly” done. And then there’s something missing: it wasn’t just a matter of criticizing her views, it was a torrent of abuse, much of it misogynist and violent and disgusting. Can we “rightly” criticize that? And then there’s the sloppiness of “views on trans people” without any specifics, which obscures the fact that Rowling didn’t simply shout abuse of trans people, or anything like it.

It is, at best, an utterly tone-deaf decision to include an evil man who cross-dresses after months of pain among trans people and their allies.

There it is again, the emotional blackmail. What pain? It looked to me more like people having a blast abusing a woman. Or if we are going to talk about people’s pain, what about the pain of women who are called names and told to stfu about their own concerns and accused of phobias and labeled Karens and bullied off social media? What about that pain?

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