Digital Slide Show Presentation
J. K. Rowling, the bestselling author of the popular young adult book series Harry Potter, has recently been recognized for her transphobic comments on Twitter. As of this writing, the author has not come forward to apologize for two separate instances of polemical tweets that targeted the transgender community. An exhaustive literature review reveals numerous studies of socially-mediated transphobia and its effects on fans, but not in the case of Rowling. Based on a discourse analysis of fans and anti-fans' 9,000+ tweets from August of 2020 to January of 2023, as scraped and culled from Rowling's Twitter page, this study argues that the author missed at least two opportunities to meaningfully engage with fans and anti-fans on her page and, as such, contributed to a larger culture of apathy around mediated representations of transphobia. The larger issue at stake is how public figures like Rowling engage in questions related to transgender rights and equality in popular discourse, a question that holds larger implications for cultural politics in the present day.
Christopher Westgate, PhD
BA - Media and Communications
Warfield, Makena, "Rowling in the Deep: J.K. Rowling, Transphobia, and Reactionary Fandom" (2023). Student Research Design & Innovation Symposium. 32.