Author deletes Twitter account after new book sparks trans row

John Boyne

Author John Boyne

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Award-winning author John Boyne has deleted his social media accounts after sparking a transgender row with his latest novel.

Boyne faced criticism from transgender activists online for his latest book My Brother's Name is Jessica, which follows the story of a 12-year-old boy whose older brother decides to transition.

In a statement about his exit from Twitter and Instagram, Boyne said he was not going to put up with "nonsense from cowards who hide behind keyboards".

The author, who also penned The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, was been accused by social media users of being unqualified to write about transgender issues.

"John is not trans, therefore this isn't his story to write," wrote one Twitter user. "When it comes to transitioning, the trans person themselves should be centered. Not their siblings."

Another wrote: "Omg the title of the book! Misgenders her!".

A column in the Irish Times by Boyne about his forthcoming book further fuelled the online backlash, after he said he rejected the term 'cisgender'.

One social media user branded the column a "train wreck of transphobia", writing: “'I’m not a cis man, I’m just a man' makes it clear that trans men aren’t men in his eyes."

However, others have leapt to the defence of Boyne.

"I for one am tired of not being able to debate anything anymore because someone somewhere gets offended or annoyed because they are not addressed properly, I’m sorry this has happened to him," wrote one Twitter user.

And fellow author Paul Howard wrote: "It was awful to watch Notre Dame Cathedral burn yesterday. But the saddest thing I've seen in the last 24 hours was the sight of John Boyne being coursed until he deleted his Twitter account.

"Horrible way to treat another human being."

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