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.
Emma Watson, 30, is extending “respect and love” to the transgender community after J.K. Rowling, 54, came under fire for a series of controversial tweets that have been blasted as “anti-trans.” The Harry Potter author has been slammed online, and by Emma’s co-star Daniel Radcliffe — now the actress, who portrayed Hermione in the eponymous coming-of-age series has broken her silence. “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,” she tweeted on June 10.
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.
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) June 10, 2020
She added, “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.” The British actress said she was donating to the charities Mama Cash and Mermaids, before concluding her message with, “Happy #PRIDE2020 Sending love x.”
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.
After coming under fire for her comments, the author penned an essay in which she states clearly that her stance is in support of “single-sex spaces,” laying out five points behind her opinions, including her confession that she is a survivor of sexual assault. “I’m mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces,” Rowling writes in her piece titled, J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues.
She went on to discuss her ‘first violent marriage’ and how the tweets she posted on June 6 resurfaced “memories of a serious sexual assault I suffered in my twenties recurred on a loop.” “That assault happened at a time and in a space where I was vulnerable,” she explained, “and a man capitalized on an opportunity. I couldn’t shut out those memories and I was finding it hard to contain my anger and disappointment about the way I believe my government is playing fast and loose with women and girls’ safety.”
The essay comes off the heels of Daniel Radcliffe‘s response to the controversy. The actor, who starred as the iconic Harry Potter in all 8 films, wrote his response through the Trevor Project, a charitable organization that, among other things, provides a national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth. He was steadfast in saying that “transwomen are women,” and lamented that Rowling’s words have caused many fans distress. “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished,” he wrote. “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.”
UPDATE (6/10/20, 7:00 p.m. ET): To respond to J.K. Rowling’s new remarks about transgender people, a GLAAD spokesperson provided this statement to HollywoodLife: “It seems JK is good at only one thing: writing fantasy. Her misinformed and dangerous missive about transgender people flies in the face of medical and psychological experts and devalues trans people accounts of their own lives. She is sowing divisiveness in a time when real leaders are driving toward unity. And to all the trans and cisgender youth raised on her books who are now loudly speaking up in support of the trans people you know and love, you are the future and we can’t wait to read and watch the beautiful art you will create.”