Daniel Radcliffe responds to JK Rowling’s anti-trans tweets

jk rowling daniel radcliffe
Photos: Supplied, Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe has penned a lengthy and powerful response to author JK Rowling’s tweets about transgender people last weekend.

The British author received intense backlash after calling out an article with the phrase “people who menstruate” and arguing “if sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction.”

The author’s tweets conflating biological sex and gender identity prompted accusations of transphobia from many of her millions of followers.

In the essay published by US queer suicide prevention non-profit The Trevor Project in response, Daniel Radcliffe wrote, “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.

“[They] have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”

The 30-year-old actor said 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth report experiences 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 wrote.

Radcliffe said he knew the media may paint his speaking out 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,” he wrote.

“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.”

JK Rowling faces backlash after tweets

On Saturday, JK Rowling sparked backlash after posting a series of tweets arguing discussion of gender identity invalidates biological sex.

Rowling tweeted an article from Devex.com titled, “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate” The author tweeted, “’People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

She later doubled down, writing, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction.

“If [biological] 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.”

Rowling has come under fire for anti-trans views before, including in 2018 when she liked a tweet calling transgender women “men in dresses”.

At the time, a spokesperson blamed the move on Rowling “holding her phone incorrectly” during “a clumsy, middle-aged moment”.

Daniel Radcliffe gives plea to Harry Potter fans

In his statement, Daniel Radcliffe directed readers to the Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth resource. It explains the differences between sex and gender and gives advice on understanding of trans and nonbinary identities.

Radcliffe also directly addressed Harry Potter fans with an apology.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.”

“And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you. I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”

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