J.K. Rowling backs Macy Gray's anti-trans remarks about what makes 'a woman'

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Macy Gray, left and J.K. Rowling.
Grammy-winning musician Macy Gray, left, and "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling. (Getty Images)

"Harry Potter" author and British billionaire J.K. Rowling quipped that she'll purchase Macy Gray's "entire back catalogue" after the "I Try" singer made controversial remarks in line with Rowling's beliefs on gender identity.

The apparent pledge came after the Grammy winner appeared Monday on "Piers Morgan Uncensored" and said she agreed with Rowling that transitioning, having gender-affirming surgery or using she/her pronouns "doesn't make you a woman."

As backlash over Gray's interview with Morgan heated up online, a Twitter user mused that Gray's remarks will "kill what's left" of her career.

Gray, 54, replied with "truth hurts."

Rowling, who has had a history of making transphobic comments, screenshot the exchange and captioned it with, "Today feels like a good day to ensure I’ve bought @MacyGraysLife’s entire back catalogue."

Gray's original remarks on Morgan's streaming Fox Nation show Monday were sparked by a discussion of her Juneteenth Market Watch op-ed and the heated debate she incited last year for suggesting a change in the American flag because she believes the current version no longer represents democracy and freedom.

She told Morgan that people should "let go of needing to be better than everyone else" and their "hang-ups about superiority," which led to a discussion of gender identity and how she thinks that "he/she/they" pronoun changes that transgender individuals make are "getting a bit confusing."

Gray aligned with the controversial journalist's stance on supporting trans rights for "fairness and equality" and Morgan's belief that trans women "born to obvious superior physical bodies" should not compete against cisgender women in sports.

"I totally agree," she told him. "And I will say this — and everybody's going to hate me — but as a woman, just because you go change your parts doesn't make you a woman. Sorry.

"I know that for a fact. Like, if you want me to call you a 'her,' I will, because that's what you want. But that doesn't make you a woman just because I call you a her and just because you got a surgery."

From there, the two discussed the differences between biological sex and gender identity, and Gray argued that "women go through just a completely unique experience."

"And surgery and finding yourself doesn't change that," she added. "Being a little girl is a whole epic book, you know, and you can't have that because you want to be a woman."

That's when Morgan brought up Rowling. He said that when the author or others make similar arguments, they get attacked, canceled or called transphobic — and that Gray could get the same treatment for her views.

"But it's the truth," Gray said. "And I don't think you should be called transphobic just because you don't agree. There's a lot of judgment and throwing stones at people for just saying what it is."

Not surprisingly, a debate ensued online. Morgan defended Gray on Tuesday on Twitter after he too came under fire. Like Rowling, Gray was called a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) and "whack" by "Pose" and "Hacks" star John Sibilly.

"If there's one thing worse than the vicious trans activist mob coming for women who defend women, it's virtue-signalling men like this fuelling the pile-on. Repulsive," Morgan wrote, replying to Sibilly's tweet.

Both Gray and Rowling's remarks also come on the heels of Bette Midler getting heat for tweeting anti-trans concerns about the word "women" over the weekend. Writing, "Don't let them erase you!," Midler commented on the ongoing debate over reproductive rights following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last month to overturn the landmark abortion case, Roe vs. Wade.

Abortion-rights advocates and organizations including Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union have moved toward using more inclusive and accurate language around reproductive healthcare to recognize that trans and nonbinary people also seek such care. And the Trans Journalists Assn. has noted that “it is important to remember that people who are not women do get pregnant and do get abortions” in its best practices on language used in news coverage.

Rowling has been active about that discourse on Twitter and retweeted a thread from another user arguing that Midler and Gray "aren't receiving pushback because they said something hateful or inaccurate," but that "[t]hey are being demonized as heretics for rejecting the dogmas of a new religion."

In 2020, Rowling came under fire for repeatedly expressing anti-trans sentiments, which have been condemned by Wizarding World actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Eddie Redmayne. She then wrote an essay titled, “J.K. Rowling Writes About Her Reasons for Speaking Out on Sex and Gender Issues."

She was notably name-checked last fall in comedian Dave Chappelle's controversial Netflix special "The Closer," which resulted in an employee walkout for the streaming service because Chappelle proudly declared himself a TERF in solidarity with Rowling.

Times staff writer Tracy Brown contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.