J.K. Rowling‘s anti-trans remarks have prompted several Harry Potter film stars, including Emma Watson, to speak out in defense of the transgender community. Rowling disappointed many when she mocked a news article for using the gender inclusive term “people who menstruate.” She doubled down on her remarks later, posting a Twitter thread and later a blog post.
Rowling wrote on Twitter:
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.
Daniel Radcliffe, Katie Leung, Evanna Lynch were the first Harry Potter film stars to speak out against Rowling’s remarks. With Radcliffe addressing it in a short essay for The Trevor Project in direct response to J.K. Rowling’s tweets, saying the following:
“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.”
Radcliffe also said that this isn’t about creating drama between himself and Rowling, saying “I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now. 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.”
Additionally, the actor spoke to Harry Potter fans who feel like their experience of the book has been “tarnished or diminished,” saying “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 also noted, “it means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”
Watson joined them last night, tweeting, “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are. I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are. I donate to @Mermaids_Gender and @mamacash. If you can, perhaps you’ll feel inclined to do the same. Happy #PRIDE2020 Sending love x.”
Read Radcliffe’s full statement here, and while you’re at it check out The Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth.