Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has penned an essay responding to a series of transphobic tweets by its creator, J.K. Rowling.
The essay, shared by LGBTQ suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project, affirms that “transgender women are women,” and urges Harry Potter fans to not let Rowling’s words “taint” what the books and films meant to them.
The author has been widely criticized for the tweets, which contained anti-transgender language regarding sex and gender identity.
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” Rowling posted on June 6. “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.”
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
She continued: “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.”
Rowling added that she respects “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,” she wrote. “At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”
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.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
The author, who also wrote and produced the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and its sequel, shared an article from The Velvet Chronicle, which has become synonymous with so-called trans-exclusionary radical feminists — or TERFs.
Last month, she misgendered a trans woman in a tweet that she later claimed was accidental, and in 2019 Rowling supported Maya Forstater, a British tax expert who was fired after posting a series of transphobic tweets.
In his essay, Daniel Radcliffe — who has been frequently outspoken in his support for equality and the LGBTQ community — apologized to those who were hurt by Rowling’s tweets.
“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,” 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.
“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,” Radcliffe continued. “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 said the he was “still learning how to be a better ally” and linked to the Trevor Project’s “Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth” for those wishing to learn more about transgender and nonbinary identities. “It’s an introductory educational resource that covers a wide range of topics, including the differences between sex and gender, and shares best practices on how to support transgender and nonbinary people,” he wrote.
“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,” Radcliffe concluded. “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 and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”
Rowling isn’t the only former Harry Potter star to speak out in support for trans people. Katie Leung, who starred as Cho Chang in the films, posted a tweet after Rowling’s comments and after discussion on Twitter about diversity in the Harry Potter books.
“So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes…(thread),” Leung wrote. However, in subsequent replies, Leung instead linked to a number of organizations supporting black transgender people.
“#AsiansForBlackLives,” Leung added.
— Katie Leung (@Kt_Leung) June 7, 2020
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