Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe responded to author J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments on Monday, saying he felt compelled to speak up and tell fans, “Transgender women are women.”
“Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I,” Radcliffe said in a statement on the Trevor Project’s website.
A day earlier, Rowling tweeted an article from Devex.com titled “Creating a More Equal Post-COVID-19 World for People Who Menstruate” and added her own commentary, saying, “'People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Many fans of the popular book and movie series expressed disappointment in Rowling’s erasure of transgender women, saying her beliefs go against the core philosophies of a series that taught them about the importance of love, equality, and fighting against discrimination.
But Rowling doubled down: “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 author tweeted.
She also claimed to be empathetic to trans people, even as she ignored the issues they raised with her statements.
“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 - ie, to male violence - ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences - is a nonsense.”
Radcliffe, who starred as Harry Potter in all eight movies spanning the years 2001 to 2011, said his statement isn’t a product of “in-fighting” between him and Rowling.
“That is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now,” he explained. “While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment.”
Radcliffe's comments came after fellow Harry Potter actors Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang, and Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermione Granger in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, also spoke out.
The Trevor Project provides suicide-prevention services for LGBTQ youth, including a hotline.
Radcliffe also said he’s ”still learning how to be a better ally” and encouraged people to look at the resources from the Trevor Project about how to be a better ally to transgender and nonbinary people.
He then addressed Harry Potter fans directly: “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you,” he said.
“If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred.
“And in my opinion nobody can touch that,” the actor continued, referring to Rowling’s comments. “It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”