Daniel Radcliffe broke his silence in a personal essay about transgender people and their ‘identities,’ in response to J.K. Rowling’s controversial tweets about sex.
UPDATE 6/10 @ 9:10 p.m. ET: Warner Bros., the studio that produced the Harry Potter films, has responded with a statement. “The events in the last several weeks have firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues,” the studio said to our sister publication Variety. “Warner Bros.’ position on inclusiveness is well established, and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world. We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all. We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content,” they also said.
Daniel Radcliffe, 30, wants to make one truth clear: “Transgender women are women.” J.K. Rowling, 54, may be the reason the Harry Potter star is such a household name — something Daniel even acknowledged — but he could no longer stay silent in the wake of the author’s controversial tweets that have been blasted as “anti-trans.” On June 8, he shared an essay with his thoughts about the controversy and transgender people’s suffering in an essay shared on The Trevor Project, which fights to end suicide among young people in the LGBTQ community (Daniel has supported the non-profit organization since 2009).
“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,” Daniel began his essay, before leading to his main statement: “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 [J.K. Rowling] or I.”
Daniel pointed out that an alarming “78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity,” making it dire to “support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.” The actor even admitted that he’s still “learning” to be a “better ally.” For those with the same goal, Daniel’s suggestion was to read The Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth.
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
J.K.’s remarks have hurt many fans, who are now left to grapple with how to enjoy the Harry Potter films and books. Daniel acknowledged this struggle in his essay, writing, “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.”
“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,” he continued. “And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”
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.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
J.K. has been accused of transphobia in the past, but sparked new backlash on June 6 when she replied to a Devex news story titled, “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.” Periods aren’t exclusive to women; transgender men, including people who identify as genderqueer and nonbinary, can also menstruate. Regardless, J.K. responded, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” Of course, she meant to imply “women.”
J.K. continued her confusing defense of womanhood in even more tweets. “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,” she also wrote. In another, she insisted that her beliefs are not anti-trans. “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,” J.K. wrote.
Daniel hasn’t been the only Harry Potter alum to speak up after J.K. aired her thoughts on Twitter. Katie Leung — who played Daniel’s on-screen love interest Cho Chang, a name that has also sparked backlash — took to Twitter to write, “So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes…(thread).” Instead of delivering her “thoughts,” Katie linked to donation pages for Black transgender women.