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JK Rowling banned from bookshelves to create a ‘safe space for the trans community’

Emma Powys Maurice September 16, 2020
JK Rowling

JK Rowling at a human rights awards ceremony in New York, December 12, 2019. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

JK Rowling books have been banned by an Australian store as a show of support for the trans community.

Rabble Books and Games in Maylands, Perth, announced on Wednesday (September 16) that it has ceased stocking new novels by JK Rowling, including those under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Harry Potter books will be removed from bookshelves, but will be available by request. The profits from any that are sold will be donated to the trans and gender diverse support service, TransFolk of WA.

“We are always trying to make Rabble a safer space for our community, and part of that is trying not to put books by transphobes on the shelves, when we know about them,” said owner Nat Latter on Facebook.

“Whilst stocking a book isn’t an endorsement (good grief, that would be a minefield), and we will always take orders for books that aren’t in stock, there are more worthy books to put on the shelf, books that don’t harm communities and won’t make us sad to unpack them.”

Latter welcomes any new recommendations for queer and trans-positive fantasy books for young people, as well as crime books for adults.

The bookshop made its announcement after the release of Rowling’s new Galbraith book, Troubled Blood, which has sparked renewed controversy around the author.

Ahead of publication an early reviwe revealed that the crime novel features a cis male serial killer who dresses as a woman to lure his cis female victims.

The Telegraph review for Troubled Blood describes it as a “book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress” — though subsequent reviews have refuted this and downplayed the significance of the character.

GLAAD director of transgender representation Nick Adams noted the book followed a long line of  materials using the “lazy” cross-dressing psychopathic killer trope, which has “been created over and over by cisgender people”.

“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,” Adams told PinkNews.

“Gender expression isn’t a danger to others. These false narratives put real transgender and gender non-conforming people in harm’s way.”

More: Australia, Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Rabble Books and Games, Robert Galbraith, transphobia

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