JK Rowling isn’t Salman Rushdie, obviously

Katelyn Burns
2 min readAug 31, 2022

A few weeks ago, author Salman Rushdie was viscously attacked on stage while giving a speech in western New York. His injuries were serious enough to land him in the hospital. The author, who was targeted with a fatwa issued by the ayatollah of Iran in 1989, has always been a brave truth teller, unafraid to speak the truth in the face of hostile state power.

In the aftermath of the Rushdie attack, gender critical feminists and the crew of usual cancel culture grifters rushed to fill the discourse void after the news first broke. Bizarrely, many of them tried to link the physical attack on Rushdie to the criticism faced by gender critical writer JK Rowling.

Rowling has garnered much attention for releasing tweets from anonymous Twitter accounts that threaten violence against her after she came out as a transphobe in 2019. None of the threatening accounts are prominent, and it would be impossible to verify if they are actual transgender people or not.

One anonymous account tweeted that she would be next after the Rushdie attack and police have launched an investigation into the tweet.

Her fans made a fuss over her “doxing” last year, after a trans person posted a selfie taken in front of her very famous castle on social media. Rowling is held up by the gender critical movement as the ultimate truth telling martyr, a total victim to the totalitarian trans rights movement who cannot tolerate dissent.

To further this point, Rowling released a novel this morning featuring a cartoonist who is murdered after being criticized as racist and transphobic by a social media mob in a story which reviewers have pointed out that the murdered character is an obvious self insert on the author’s part.

But here in the real world, it’s blatantly clear that Rowling is not Salman Rushdie. Rushdie was targeted by a literal head of state. Rowling has been criticized by members of the trans community. The trans community is not equivalent to a head of state. In fact there are no openly trans heads of states in the history of earth (though many have speculated that one Roman emperor was likely a trans woman as we now understand the term). Arguably the most powerful trans person on the planet is the current assistant secretary of health for the United States.

It’s incredibly stupid and dangerous to equate threats from random, anonymous, and unverified Twitter accounts to an attack against an author who had a fatwa issued against him by the Iranian head of state and has had to fear for his own safety for decades.

It may be crass to state the reality here, but the only violence faced by Rowling to this point is the fantasy she recorded in her newest novel. These days it seems like every political issue gets sucked into the the gender critical transphobia vortex, but we can all condemn violence against Rushdie without making it about trans people.

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Katelyn Burns

Political journalist. The first openly trans Capitol Hill reporter in US history. Writing about more than just trans issues. Follow her on Twitter @transscribe