Daniel Radcliffe, star of the Harry Potter films, is the latest to speak out after author J.K. Rowling posted a thread on Twitter, which has been widely criticized as transphobic. Radcliffe posted his response via The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ youth in crisis.
Rowling took to Twitter on Saturday, June 6, to repost an article with the headline “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”
“People who menstruate.” Rowling wrote in her response, “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
“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 — ie, to male violence — ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences — is a nonsense.
“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.”
Radcliffe took to The Trevor Project, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ youth in crisis, to post a statement, directly addressing Rowling’s tweets, and declaring “Transgender women are women.”
“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,” his statement read, adding: “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. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”
He went on to share resources from The Trevor Project on supporting transgender and non binary people, and also said he is “deeply sorry” to fans who feel this has tarnished the book series for them. He said on the fan experience:
“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.”
His full statement can be read at The Trevor Project. Daniel Radcliffe is a long-time supporter of The Trevor Project, having been honored with the Trevor Hero Award in 2011, Radcliffe has advocated for LGBTQ+ youth with the organization since 2009.
Other Potter stars have also responded to Rowling’s tweets. Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang in the Harry Potter series, posted links to a variety of organizations supporting Black transgender people:
Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermione Granger in the first run of both the West End and Broadway productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, chose to highlight various high-profile transgender activists and individuals in her response to Rowling:
“1. Dear Jo – Marsha P. Johnson. Sylvia Rivera. Indya Moore. Angelica Ross. Tamara Adrián. Rebecca Root. Isis King. Laverne Cox. Caitlyn Jenner. Lily and Lana Wachowski. Trace Lysette. Andreja Pejic. Tracey Norman. Janet Mock. APRIL ASHLEY… etc, etc, Wikipedia.
“2. As I honour mine, and the trans friends in my life. I’ll defer to THEIR LIVED EXPERIENCES, not their erasure. And these are just the WOMEN! There is Magic in listening. This [world] has stories for millennia. I know You Know All this…with love. Nx #TransRightsAreHumanRights”
U.S. Harry Potter editor, Arthur Levine, also spoke out against the statements:
“I know you and I know you aren’t speaking out of hate. But I do have a different point of view about this. Gender can be ‘real’ without being established irrevocably at birth by one’s chromosomes or one’s genitals. The brain is also an organ that determines gender. (1)
“(2) Once someone transitions to make their physical body reflect their gender identity, then the “sex” they then express is real. Trans women ARE real women, in their minds and in their bodies. Medical intervention on one person does not invalidate any who don’t need it.”
Various other Harry Potter fans, fan groups and influencers have spoken out on the tweets also, including The Harry Potter Alliance, an activist group helping to equip fans with the resources and knowledge to take on various social justice issues. The organization posted their response via a Twitter thread:
Jackson Bird, transgender fan, activist and author, also posted a response, and shared another response from Kacen, a queer and transgender author, who published a response
In December, Rowling was also criticized for tweeting in support of Maya Forstater, who did not have her contract renewed at an international think tank after a series of tweets, and lost her employment tribunal after her opinions on sex were ruled “absolutist.”