It’s in the garden, about a minute’s walk from the house. It is not only the trans segment of the fan community, however, that has been hurt and enraged by Rowling’s statements. “The Harry Potter books changed children’s publishing,” says Brummitt, “completely rejuvenating what was considered to be a struggling industry. In the midst of all this, JK Rowling sent out a tweet to her 14 million followers, questioning an article’s use of the phrase “people who menstruate”: I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". She was bringing up her child on benefits in Scotland, in the mid-nineties, and she somehow used her writing skills to forge a better life for herself,” summaries Cassie Brummitt, academic at the Cinema and Television History Institute at De Montfort University, who wrote her PhD on the development of the Harry Potter franchise. And while it is likely to have little commercial implication for the Wizarding World, it has sent profound shockwaves through her own: putting a spotlight on the things that define us as individuals and as a society, probing the boundaries of both identity and freedom of speech. But the story did not end there. Yet it does not, always, appear to have been an unqualified success. For others, it is a question of the possible erasure of the political class of “woman”, and all the hard-fought rights that entails. But Rowling no longer works in cafes. Murray is father to Rowling’s two youngest children. “…accusations of TERFery have been sufficient to intimidate many people, institutions and organisations I once admired, who’re cowering before the tactics of the playground. Non-disclosure agreements proliferated. Rowling said she "never set out to describe Sean in Ron, but Ron has a Sean-ish turn of phrase." Sean Harris, the school friend who lent her the deposit for a flat and once drove a turquoise Ford Anglia that would be immortalised forever in Potter lore. What of Rowling’s concerns that allowing self-identification might endanger cis women who use single-sex spaces? But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? The real-life heroism of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who helped save 300 Jews and insurgents during the Holocaust, has become a Hollywood movie. A week later, a group of authors resigned from the Blair Partnership over the agency’s response to the controversy, having asked it “to reaffirm their commitment to transgender rights and equality,” but ultimately concluding that it was “unable to commit to any action that we thought was appropriate and meaningful”. Sean Harris, the school friend who lent her the deposit for a flat and once drove a turquoise Ford Anglia that would be immortalised forever in Potter lore. Her mother, Anne Rowling died in 1990 with 45 years an incurable (unheilbaren) disease (Krankheit). Answer: Multiple sclerosis . I don’t think it’s a problem for celebrities to talk about politics, but… I think that she should have been upfront about why she was talking about this when she was talking about it and what she was trying to do politically, because that is a very different conversation than that which most of us thought we were having.”, If Rowling’s effect on political and cultural attitudes is hard to measure, its effect on the trans community is abundantly obvious to Steelman: “Since her June statements, I have been incredibly overwhelmed with calls,” she says, citing an 11-year-old child who told her: “I don’t know how my parents will take it, if I tell them what I am now realising, because we’ve had conversations about JK Rowling and my dad and my mom said these things and now I don’t know if they’re going to be safe with what I have to tell them.”, Rowling’s essay reveals that she has been accused of “literally killing trans people with my hate”. And, says Mackenzie, “the persistent failure of government and other public authorities to make clear statements about the parameters of existing anti-discrimination laws have meant that the issue has been left to be slugged out in the public square, in an atmosphere of increasing tension and antipathy.”. It seems a risk she’s willing to take. In 2018, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald brought in 20 per cent less at global box offices than its 2016 predecessor, and a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 36 per cent compared to 74 per cent. She enjoyed listening to … In 2009/10, 40 girls across the UK were referred for gender treatment. She had a difficult relationship with her father, and her mother was often unwell. He’s also founder of the world’s largest transgender archives and is trans himself. A teacher, a childhood neighbor, even her grandmother are channeled into Rowling's characters. Till 6 June 2020 and Rowling’s explosive tweet which, she explains in her essay, was issued after she read “that the Scottish government is proceeding with its controversial gender recognition plans”. Its second consultation was launched in December 2019, when Rowling wrote her first controversial tweet on the subject of trans rights and in support of Maya Forstater, a tax expert whose contract at the at the think tank Center for Global Development went unrenewed after she tweeted that transgender women can’t change their biological sex. Then he could go home that night, fill in the form again and change back.”, That, she argues, would never be the case: “in countries where they have taken away some of the reliance on medical criteria… it is still a legal process. It sets a “gender representation objective” that 50 per cent of a board’s non-executive members should be women. “You know you’re going to get a misogynistic response,” says Serwotka. Rowling also followed her PR, Mark Hutchinson, when he left the Colman Getty agency and founded his own in 2011 (type his name into Google News and the top results are all now accompanied by variations on the phrase “declined to comment further”). She even based the character of Ron on Sean. Rowling modeled her young hero after her childhood neighborhood friend, Ian Potter, who once lived four doors down from her in her home near Bristol. Discover UK showbiz and celebrity breaking news from the MailOnline. “Not because there’s no desire there to boycott and not because there isn’t a huge community of people who support trans folk and want to see change… But the Harry Potter machine, the wizarding world machine is very large…”, Steelman, on the other hand, can foresee a longer-term whittling away of the Potter cool-factor. Fry coined the term “denial marketing” to characterise their strategy for all things Potter: the more people want, the less you give. According to Rowling, the bikers would take over the West Country and drink the nights away at the local pubs, bringing their "huge mountains of leather and hair" with them. We’re going to stand up. And yet you have groups like the LGB Alliance taking out full-page adverts in Scottish newspapers…”. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. Sean used to drive Rowling … When, in September, Warner Bros released an FAQ about the game, it stated that: “JK Rowling is not directly involved in the creation of the game.”, “Isn’t that incredible?” says Brummitt. Instead, says Steelman: “she’s just been louder.”, Hate crimes against trans people, as recorded by the police in England, Scotland and Wales, rose by 81 per cent between 2016-17 and 2018-19, from 1,073 to 1,944. The generational divide is so deep that it extends beyond grassroots politics and into celebrity. Although she writes under the pen name J.K. Rowling, pronounced like rolling, ... remembers her as "not exceptional" but "one of a group of girls who were bright, and quite good at English." What we are witnessing now is a rebalancing, he suggests, as more information becomes available, especially online. However, above all, Rowling used Hermione's strong character to express her feminist conscience. During lockdown, Harry Potter books returned to bestseller lists. Her parents first met on a train departing from King's Cross Station bound for Arbroath in 1964. The two met after Rowling moved to Porto in the devastated aftershocks of her mother’s death from multiple sclerosis in 1990. “Franchises like Harry Potter come around once in a blue moon in Hollywood. “This is going to hurt me to say it, but no,” says Miller. They married on 14 March 1965. Call yourself whatever you like. “There is no part of me that feels that I represented myself as your children’s babysitter or their teacher,” she said in the New Yorker interview. The literary agent who launched JK Rowlingto international stardom has passed away, his representatives said last night. A barrier has been erected around JK Rowling. ‘They’ll call us transphobic!’ ‘They’ll say I hate trans people!’”. In the seven days from 14 September, 28,475 original tweets, reaching a likely audience of more than 91 million, bore the ominous hashtag #RIPJKRowling. For all intents and purposes, this change will apply for life and you have to sign up for that. Modeling her character after a teacher whom she admitted she "disliked intensely on sight," Rowling created the pink- and kitten-obsessed torturer who would later be revealed to be in Lord Voldemort's pocket. “Warner Bros.’ willingness to continue the series even though it’s on a downward path financially is evidence of playing the long game,” says Jeff Bock, senior media analyst at Exhibitor Relations. And while Warner Bros was still in the game, releasing the first of a reported five Fantastic Beasts movies that year, Rowling had expanded her reach here, too. My writing room is probably my favourite place in the world. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is dedicated to Sean. Wesley has also been recently cast as a … “I don’t think JK Rowling is leaving her home and actually murdering a trans person,” says Steelman, “but that isn’t what you need to do anymore to have that impact. A group of over 50 prominent literary figures signed letter in support of Harry Potter author JK Rowling after she received death threats on social media under the hashtag #RIPJKRowling. Scotland, however, has yet to make any decision. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Rowling had waded into an argument that, for a minority, touches on the very most personal and pertinent of questions: their true identity and their security to inhabit and express it without challenge or prejudice. Because, in fact, it is not quite true that everyone on the planet had expressed a view. Consider too that Neil Blair, Rowling’s agent, first worked on Potter at Warner Brothers, then moved to Rowling’s first literacy agency, Christopher Little, and finally launched his own where he continues to represent her, helped her to launch her digital publishing company Pottermore, and is Chair of her charity Lumos. The franchise developed apace. For Sean P.F. The world that we have been left is mostly trash and we’re done. “He could then go out and use that the next day to get access to a women-only changing room… and commit voyeurism and abuse against those women. It is heterosexual, male predators who are finding a way to get into that space and then attacking women. On 6 June, of course, there were plenty of opportunities to feel that an old guard had created a frightening dystopia, and that they were the ones silencing less powerful voices. And it mentions Rowling’s husband, Neil Murray. Finn Mackay suggests that some roots of the current controversy can be found in the 1970s, when debates arose over whether women’s consciousness-raising groups and collectives in the US and the UK should include trans women. “What we see is it’s not transgender people who are doing that. “You do the meeting because you want to draw out the response, and that’s what [Rowling]’s done. Her interest is not only professional, though. Not all relatives are easy to be around, and for a writer like Rowling, they apparently gave her a creative opportunity to channel her grievances. The draft hate crime bill being considered by MSPs is bringing some of the same issues to the fore and there will be a judicial review of the Scottish government’s redefinition of ‘woman’ under the Gender Representation on Public Boards Act 2018. And she knows that because the books are about it.”, In the early stages, says Steelman, LGBT+ organisations including the trans youth charity Mermaids contacted Rowling and her office privately to offer what Mermaid called ‘a calm conversation around the issues she has raised’. The show’s creators modeled the sitcom couple after the bantering and romantic relationship between the Hollywood icons. I had to drag her out of the house at five in the morning, and I admit I slapped her very hard in the street.” (This June, in the wake of Rowling’s essay, he insisted that: “I slapped her, but I didn’t abuse her.”), “The scars left by violence and sexual assault don’t disappear, no matter how loved you are, and no matter how much money you’ve made,” Rowling writes. Less so. “A lot of our readership got very angry,” says Kat Miller, creative and marketing director at MuggleNet, one of the franchise’s very oldest fan sites, attracting between 80 and 100 million visitors a month. In fact, Rowling has cherished her friendship with Harris so much that she dedicated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to him. If a creature (or, indeed, Kreacher) was to be cut from a movie, Rowling would personally intervene in the script writing, to explain that he would have a vital role in future films. Controversy rumbled. Yet both Miller and Steelman are now witnessing a growing boycott. Millennial fans grew up in an environment so saturated with Potter films, books and merchandise, that the Wizarding World and their own were almost impossible to disentangle. For Sean P.F. Journalists were forbidden from taking notes while reading new books. They reach higher than the street lamps in front of them.”. On 6 June, the world had a lot to contend with. Over the course of seven days, a total of 12,296 original tweets bore the hashtag, reaching a probable audience of around 7 million people. A depression settled over Church Cottage, leaving Rowling feeling trapped and miserable. But Rowling no longer works in cafes. If I’d found community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment, I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred.”. In 2018, the Westminster government launched a consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act. And if he was challenged, he could simply say, ‘Oh, actually I identify as a woman, I’ve filled in the form’. You understand if you use it for nefarious means, it’s a fraudulent use of the process. Merely credited as a producer on the Potter productions, she would both write and produce these new prequel movies. “It was widely suggested, and it was received by 90 per cent of people as saying, that [GRA reform] would be a legal change which meant that somebody, a man or a woman, could wake up in the morning, decide that they wanted to be the other sex to that which they were born, go online, fill in a form,” says Finn Mackay, senior lecturer in sociology at the university of West of England in Bristol, who is currently finishing a book on the gender wars. Rowling also writes of her own sexual assault, and the domestic abuse she suffered in her first marriage, to Portuguese journalist Jorge Arantes. So are we finally seeing JK Rowling unleashed? “The first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has made very clear her commitment to self-ID, persistently denying any adverse effects on women’s rights,” says policy analyst Lisa Mackenzie of Murray Blackburn Mackenzie, which has been scrutinising the Scottish Government’s actions on gender recognition reform. Universal Parks & Resorts, Warner Brothers and Scholastic – respectively among the world’s most powerful theme park corporations, film studios and publishing houses – all issued statements reiterating their commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Donald Trump and his “long history of sexual assault accusations” sits alongside “activists who declare that TERFs need punching” (coined in 2008, the acronym TERF was first reserved for trans-exclusionary radical feminists but has now morphed into a catch-all insult, aimed at any woman seen as anti-trans-inclusion). It is almost as pronounced as that noted by a New Yorker journalist granted a rare interview in 2012: “The conifer hedges in front of J. K. Rowling’s seventeenth-century house, in Edinburgh, are about twenty feet tall. . George Floyd’s death was filling streets with protests, lockdown was only fractionally easing, and it was LGBT+ Pride month. Beneath the power dynamic are generational fault lines. Trans women who work in the sex industry, particularly trans women of colour, are at particular risk. Rowling’s stream of tweets and eventual essay on sex and gender appear the polar opposite – written and published in a state Rowling describes as “triggered”, they are unmediated, controversial and authentic. Potter keeps on paying the bills, even in his twenties. Harris, getaway driver and foulweather friend Explanation: Jo met Sean at her secondary school, Wyedean, when she was eleven. When you have power, you have responsibility. WHEN Sean Harris found himself the source of a dedication on Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets, he no doubt felt some pride at his school friend's cryptic message. Harris, getaway driver and foulweather friend Explanation: Jo met Sean at her secondary school, Wyedean, when she was eleven.