Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi has slammed Chimamanda Adichie, JK Rowling, and their supporters.
Akwaeke, who used to call herself a fan of Chimamanda and is one of the beneficiaries of her writing workshop, took to Twitter to accuse Adichie and Rowling of supporting the killing of transgender children.
Born in Umuahia and raised in Abia state, Nigeria, Akwaeke identifies as “they/them” and removed her breasts last year as part of her journey to becoming gender-fluid (read here).
Having experienced what it’s like to grow up as a transgender in Nigeria, she became a critic of her former benefactor Chimamanda Adichie and JK Rowling because she doesn’t agree with the views they’ve expressed about transgenders.
Chimamanda, who has campaigned for LGBTQ rights in Nigeria, faced backlash and was called transphobic in 2017 when she said during an interview with Channel 4 News that transgender women do not have the same experiences as those born female.
She had said: “I think the whole problem of gender in the world is about our experiences. It’s not about how we wear our hair or whether we have a vagina or a penis. It’s about the way the world treats us, and I think if you’ve lived in the world as a man with the privileges that the world accords to men and then sort of change gender, it’s difficult for me to accept that then we can equate your experience with the experience of a woman who has lived from the beginning as a woman and who has not been accorded those privileges that men are.”
On her part, Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, has also made multiple utterances that led to her being called transphobic.
On June 2020, Rowling objected to an article that refers to cisgender women as “people who menstraute”. The aim of the post was to avoid offending transwomen who don’t menstruate.
JK said “people who menstruate” have a name – women – and this angered the LGBTQ community and she was called transphobic.
She stood her ground as she responded in a tweet, writing: “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 idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women—i.e., to male violence—‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences—is a nonsense.”
She continued, “I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”
As months has passed since Rowling and even Adichie shared their opinions, the outrage has died down.
But, it was brought up again when it was reported that a North Carolina bill will make it compulsory for “state employees to immediately notify parents in writing if their children display gender nonconformity or expresses a desire to be treated in a way that is incompatible with the gender they were assigned to at birth.”
Some said this bill is aimed at killing transgender children from a young age once they display signs, and they opposed it.
Akwaeke Emezi reshared a tweet saying the bill is aimed at forcing trans children to “conform or die” and they used the opportunity to drag Chimamanda Adichie and JK Rowling again.
She wrote: “When you try to deny children access to healthcare, you are trying to kill them. That’s what Rowling supports, FYI, and by endorsing her, that’s what Adichie also supports. Whether you want to admit that or not.
“So yes, I have quite some hostility for transphobes and their supporters because y’all would happily see children dead, see me dead, see trans people dead, and you want to think you shouldn’t be dragged into oblivion? Fuck y’all thoroughly.”
Akwaeke also called out Nigerians who say they support LGBTQ but still support Adichie.
She wrote: “As for all the Nigerians who are like ‘yay we support trans people and our LGBTQ family’ while still simping for Adichie? F*ck you too.”
She continued: “Oh, that applies to other African writers who either quietly or loudly support Adichie. Give it up, babes. Aunty is not going to do anything for you.”
Recalling what it was like growing up trans in Aba, Akwaeke wrote: “Y’all really had the nerve to come on here and call me jealous when my range and body of work—lol, nvm. Last last, all this is personal because I *was* that little trans kid in Aba of all places without language for it, without the internet, without community, without the books.
“It doesn’t have to be like that for the kids now, but people like Adichie, like Rowling, like these politicians are *harming* children in our communities. Which children should live and which should die is never something that should be up for debate, f*ck your opinions.”
Below are reactions from some Twitter users.