Harry Potter’s Katie Leung addressed the J.K. Rowling controversy in the best way
We’re in the middle of two pandemics—coronavirus (COVID-19) and long-standing systemic racism—and J.K. Rowling chose this time to light a dumpster fire on Twitter. The Harry Potter author, who has been called out for transphobic comments in the past, sparked controversy again in a tweet in which she implied that the phrase “people who menstruate” should only refer to women. Since that conversation took off, another started with Twitter users calling Rowling out for lazily naming her only East Asian character in the series “Cho Chang.” Fortunately, actress Katie Leung, who played the character on-screen, had the perfect response.
The conversation around Cho Chang was trending on Twitter on Saturday. One user, called the name the equivalent of offensively naming a character “Ching Chong” and pointed out how little dimension Leung’s character was given, that she “did literally nothing in the series but date people.” Another user wrote: “Over 20 years after she was introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, people are expressing irritation that JK Rowling lazily named her only East Asian character Cho Fucking Chang. Yes, we’ve been holding on to this one for a long time.”
Leung addressed the issue on Sunday, drawing followers in by writing, “So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes…”
Then, in a thread, she linked to multiple resources to support organizations that aid Black trans women, powerfully responding to both Rowling’s racist naming and transphobic comments at once.
She finished her thread with a simple hashtag: #AsiansForBlackLives.
If you’re curious about Rowling’s tweets that started all of this and eventually garnered that beautiful response from Leung, here’s that mess below.
She started by sharing an article on the effects of coronavirus on global menstrual health, disliking the writer’s use of 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?”
Then, she continued to swiftly erase the validity of trans people.
There are a few things Rowling seems to be forgetting about here. First, not all women menstruate and not all people who menstruate are women. Whether that’s members of the trans community, people who identify as non-binary, people who are menopausal, or women with medical or fertility issues, all of those experiences are valid. There’s also the fact that sex and gender are not the same. And finally, one person’s identity does not negate the another’s existence.
So, in response to Rowling’s bizarre and upsetting tweets, we’ll be following Leung’s lead and setting up recurring donations to some of the Black trans organizations she shared.