JK Rowling Criticised For New Book About Male Serial Killer Disguised As Woman

by : Cameron Frew on : 15 Sep 2020 13:26
JK Rowling Criticised For New Book About Male Serial Killer Disguised As WomanJK Rowling Criticised For New Book About Male Serial Killer Disguised As WomanPA Images

JK Rowling is under fire again. From her Twitter transphobia, the author has moved onto a new book about a ‘transvestite serial killer’.

Often dubbed a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) online, the Harry Potter scribe has rarely shied away from discussion of her problematic views on transgender people and the role of ‘sex’ in society.


Troubled Blood, the latest instalment of her Cormoran Strike series – written under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith – deals with an ‘investigation into a cold case: the disappearance of GP Margot Bamborough in 1974, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer’.

Troubled Blood JK RowlingTroubled Blood JK RowlingSphere Books

In The Telegraph’s early review, Jake Kerridge wrote: ‘One wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress.’

According to The Independent, the book tracks a ‘cisgender male serial killer who fetishises women’s clothing, and in one instance in the book, disguises himself as a woman to trick the person he is abducting’.


Paris Lees, a journalist and trans activist, took to Twitter to slam the author, writing: 

JK Rowling’s new book’s about a ‘transvestite serial killer’. Meanwhile over in the real world the number of trans people killed in Brazil has risen by 70% this past year, young trans women are left to burn in cars and men who kill us (for being trans) are pardoned and sent home.

In subsequent tweets, Lees added: ‘Yes I’ve seen Silence of the Lambs… it’s great… I know there are lots of ‘transvestite killers’ in pop culture. That’s the point… we’re in 2020 now and these harmful myths are being used to enact laws against trans people who we now know face horrific violence just for being trans.’


For reference, transvestite is an outdated term specifically used to describe people, typically men, who like to wear clothes typically associated with the opposite sex. Transgender people are those whose gender identity or expression differs from the sex as they were born.

Nick Adams, GLAAD’s director of transgender representation, also criticised the ‘cross-dressing psychopathic killer’ trope, telling PinkNews: ‘This false and lazy storytelling device is based not in reality but in thinly-disguised homophobia and transphobia, and conflates gender non-conformity with evil.’

JK Rowling JK Rowling PA Images

Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, a columnist for Metro, also tweeted: ‘A serial killer in JK’s new book is trans. For someone who has said she loves and supports trans people, perhaps she should support them by avoiding deeply harmful tropes about our community. But she doesn’t care – this is deliberate. It’s gross.’

She added: ‘She has not spent months demonising and speaking out against trans people – and now publishes a book with a trans person as a violent serial killer. And yet she is surprised at the criticism she receives. Are we living on the same planet?’

Rowling earlier sparked fury with an essay, titled TERF Wars, written after she took issue with the phrase ‘people who menstruate’. She wrote: ‘I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’


Rowling added: ‘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.’

The actions and words of the on-screen Harry Potter alumni speak louder than Rowling’s transphobic yammering ever will, with Emma Watson tweeting shortly after: ‘Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.’

Daniel Radcliffe also said: ‘Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.’

YouTuber Kat Blaque put it best: ‘JK Rowling could have just… not done all of this.’

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Film and TV, Books, JK Rowling, News, Trans Rights, Transphobia


The Telegraph and 2 others
  1. The Telegraph

    Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith, review: JK Rowling fails to Strike again

  2. The Independent

    JK Rowling’s new novel about murderous cross-dresser accused of being transphobic

  3. Pink News

    In a plot twist nobody saw coming, JK Rowling is facing a severe backlash over her new ‘cross-dressing serial killer’ book