School scraps plans to name house after JK Rowling following 'anti-trans' tweets

A school has dropped plans to name a house after JK Rowling, following her ‘anti-trans’ tweets over the weekend.

The Harry Potter author sparked outrage with a string of messages on social media that were deemed transphobic, with Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson among those later sharing their support for the transgender community.

It has now been revealed that a school in West Sussex has scrapped an idea to name a house after the 54-year-old, following her comments.

The Weald school in Billingshurst last month announced new names for five houses, and the addition of a sixth, with the changes taking affect in September.

However, in a letter to parents, deputy headteacher Sarah Edwards confirmed that the writer would no longer be given the honour – which will now be going to Malorie Blackman.

‘In recent days it has come to light that one of our new names may in fact no longer be an appropriate role model for our community,’ it read.

‘JK Rowling has tweeted some messages which are considered to be offensive to the LGBT+ community (specifically, trans-phobic) and we feel that we do not wish to be associated with these views.

‘Malorie Blackman is a prolific author of children’s and young adult literature, writer of television and radio dramas, was the Children’s Laureate between 2013-2015 and uses her writing as a way of exploring social and ethical issues.

‘We feel that she fits the bill as an excellent replacement for a modern-day female author, so that we retain our aim of having a combination of historical and modern significant figures.’

As well as Blackman, the other houses will be named Attenborough, Thompson, Seacole, Mercury and DaVinci.

Rowling was met with huge backlash over the weekend after she commented on a story with the headline: ‘Opinion: Creating a more equal post-Covid-19 world for people who menstruate’. 

Hitting out at the phrasing, she tweeted: ‘”People who menstruate”. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?

‘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. 

‘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.’

In a lengthy essay shared on her website on Wednesday, she attempted to clear up the tweets, insisting that she isn’t a TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist).

And, speaking to Metro.co.uk, a representative of Mermaids – a charity that supports young transgender people – explained why her words are so harmful.

‘Anything that spreads misinformation or singles out a minority for simply being themselves is harmful,’ they said. 

‘Trans people are already aware that mainstream media doesn’t often respect them, so to see similar comments coming from an author that provided a much-loved form of escapism can be heartbreaking.’

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