The late great fantasy author Terry Pratchett, pictured in 2005 (David Levenson/Getty)
Terry Pratchett’s daughter has shut down the “horrifying” claims that her father would be a transphobe if he were alive, urging people to simply “read the books”.
The prolific Discworld author was famed for his comical tongue-in-cheek critiques of society, genre tropes and gender norms, which he explored in more than 70 novels before he tragically died of early-onset Alzheimers disease in 2015.
“I thought the fact that you write good fantasy meant that you were acquainted with reality,” they tweeted. “After learning this about you, it seems however more likely like that was Pratchett’s contribution to your partnership.”
Another agreed: “Honestly have no idea how anyone can read Pratchett, esp. the Witches, and think he didn’t know what ‘female’ is and means in the world.”
The mischaracterisation was unacceptable to Pratchett’s daughter, Rhianna, who took to Twitter on Saturday (31 July) to respond to the so called “gender critical” people trying to co-opt her father’s legacy.
“This is horrifying. My father would most definitely not be a GC if he was still alive. Read. The. Books,” she wrote.
“If you’re desperately trying to recruit the dead to your cause then you should probably have a big think about just what you’re supporting.”
This is horrifying. My father would most definitely not be a GC if he was still alive. Read. The. Books. https://t.co/iphrwjBMUk
— Rhianna Pratchett 💙 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@rhipratchett) July 30, 2021
To drive home her point Rhianna retweeted the author Richard Cobbett, who said: “One of the many reasons that I’m proud to be a lifelong fan of [the Discworld] series is its compassion and devotion to humanity in all of its forms – and that includes many, many characters willing to take control of their own destinies in a world that wants them to be quiet.
“But even on just this one tiny sliver of the things the books did, if [gender-critical people] can read the likes of, say, Fifth Elephant and Monstrous Regiment and go ‘Oh, yeah, totes on our side’ then… I don’t even know what to say.”
Terry Pratchett included strong trans themes in his books
Those claiming Terry Pratchett was anti-trans had clearly forgotten about his character Cheery Littlebottom, the first dwarf to present as a woman.
Although the bearded dwarf was technically cis her story had a strong transgender subtext, including her insistence on she/her pronouns and her determination to be read as female.
A flood of Discworld fans quickly chimed in to remind people of this, as well as the other gender non-conforming themes in Pratchett’s work.
He was ahead of his time. Absolutely fighting inequality everywhere. Did they forget the Dwarves? Cheery Littlebottom likely would have some choice words for the GC movement.
— CanaDutchian – full of Dad vibes (@CanaDutchian) July 31, 2021
I mean pic.twitter.com/lxXbx0nLfX
— Adult Human Tamale (@halford_rosie) July 30, 2021
Absolutely heartbreaking, disgusting and maddening to think that TERFs would try to claim the man who wrote Cheery Littlebottom, a character openly fighting for gender recognition, who is agressively defended by her colleagues against those who refused to accept her. https://t.co/Il8MSuKDZ5
— the James Zapfletts formerly known as Willetts (@JAWilletts) July 31, 2021
Terry Pratchett literally wrote a book where the villain was a GC who sided with fascists. pic.twitter.com/SXbSz6VS2f
— Tom Eastman (@tveastman) July 31, 2021
THE *THIRD* BOOK IN THE SERIES WAS ABOUT GRANNY HANDLING A SITUATION WHERE SOMEONE’S NATURE AND GENDER IDENTITY WERE AT ODDS WITH WHAT THE WORLD THOUGHT ‘NORMAL’ AND HER SOLUTION TO IT WAS TO PROD BUTTOCK UNTIL AN ENTIRE INSTITUTION OF WIZARDS HAD TO CHANGE.
— Richard Cobbett (@richardcobbett) July 30, 2021
Terry Pratchett was a fierce defender of individuals staying true to themselves regardless of the roles the world had in mind for them. His book Equal Rites shows how gender roles are by & large bullshit & says you should make your life w/ the gifts you have no matter your sex.
— Daniel O’Brien (@OdiEtAmo_PRNqd) July 31, 2021
Even the revered Terry Pratchett isn’t safe from from the “gender critical” mob. They picked on the wrong author/family, clearly. https://t.co/6gXpixCTWu
— M+M+M🤪 (@Emineminem2014) July 31, 2021
But in case any doubt remains, one fan unearthed an old interview with FTL in which Terry Pratchett makes his views crystal clear.
“The people I know who are gay (and one [transgender], I think – like the dwarfs, I don’t ask people what they’re not prepared to volunteer), are mostly within the SF/fantasy fandom which appears, at least, to be quite amiable about people’s sexuality so long as they don’t act like a jerk,” he said.
When asked whether trans characters are more common and accepted in sci-fi and fantasy, Sir Terry replied simply: “As above. Without a shadow of a doubt.”