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Oxfam should worry about poverty, not pronouns

JK Rowling (left) and the Oxfam advert. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Imagine the horror Oxfam’s bosses must have felt, says Michael Deacon in The Daily Telegraph, when “thousands upon thousands” of Twitter users pointed out that a cartoon published by the charity depicting an “evil, scowling, hate-fuelled transphobe” looked exactly like JK Rowling. Of course, the do-gooders were quick to issue an arse-covering statement insisting there was “no intention” to portray “any particular person”. And who am I to question their sincerity? It’s no doubt merely an “unfortunate coincidence” that the animated bigot closely resembled a widely published photograph of Rowling attending a 2018 movie premiere, “right down to her hairstyle and outfit”.

Even if the cartoon hadn’t looked remotely like the beloved children’s author, “Oxfam would still have been utterly in the wrong”. Partly because of the absurd implication that anyone who supports single-sex changing rooms and thinks only women should play women’s rugby is a “nasty old hag who loathes the vulnerable”. But the bigger problem is that Oxfam is a charity that was founded to tackle poverty. “How exactly does attacking ‘terfs’ help to feed starving children?” Transphobia may be a hurtful prejudice, but it’s not a leading cause of “drought, hunger, disease and war”. Perhaps they think a starving child in Burkina Faso might shout: “No! I refuse to accept any food that may have been paid for by someone who believes that biological males should not be allowed to enter the women’s Olympic weightlifting!” But on the whole, “I think it’s unlikely”.