The identical twins, who became famous after appearing on X Factor, waded into the row over the author’s latest crime novel, Troubled Blood, which includes a transvestite serial killer and has seen her criticised for “transphobia”, despite the character not being transgender.
John and Edward Grimes, known as Jedward and famous for their vertical hairstyles, tweeted their support for trans rights, and said her book, should be used as “firewood” and “is perfect to burn next to a romantic fire”.
The fifth Cormoran Strike novel is not published until 29 September but a review in a Sunday paper mentioned a murderous transvestite character, reigniting claims that the author – who writes crime fiction under the name Robert Galbraith – “hates” transgender people and kickstarting the Twitter hashtag.
However Scotsman literary critic Allan Massie said the book was a “good solid crime novel”, and those condemning Ms Rowling would not have read it.
He added: “It is not about transgender people. It has a serial killer in Broadmoor who from time to time dresses in women’s clothes. I would not have thought transgender people would equate themselves with transvestites.
The reaction to the book seems misplaced and of course will likely be because they have not read it yet because it has not been officially published.”
Ms Rowling was also defended yesterday by Robbie Coltrane, who plays Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies, who said “there’s a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended”.
In an interview with Radio Times, the actor said he did not regard Ms Rowling’s comments on gender identity as “offensive”, although other stars from the movies have criticised her views. He said those complaining on Twitter “wouldn’t have won the war” and added: “You just think, ‘Oh, get over yourself. Wise up, stand up straight and carry on’.”
He said he did not want to go further because, “I don’t want to get involved in all of that because of all the hate mail and all that s***, which I don’t need at my time of life”.
The controversy was originally sparked when JK Rowling responded to an article headlined “Creating a more equal post-Covid-19 world for people who menstruate”. She tweeted: “’People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
She went on to say: “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.”
Rowling went on to write an essay explaining why she believed proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act by the Scottish Government would be detrimental to vulnerable women and revealed she had been a victim of domestic abuse, which led to threats on social media.