Daniel Radcliffe responds to J.K. Rowling backlash

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Daniel Radcliffe starred in eight Harry Potter movies.


Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Daniel Radcliffe has responded to a series of tweets from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling that have been criticized for being transphobic.

“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe, who starred in the movies based on Rowling’s Harry Potter books, wrote Monday in a blog post for The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization focused on saving LGBTQ lives.

“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 cited the high percent of transgender and nonbinary youth who reported being discriminated against due to their gender identity, and wrote that “it’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”

Rowling’s series of controversial tweets began with a comment on an article from Devex, titled: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate. “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” Rowling tweeted Saturday.

In response to replies that accused Rowling of being a Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF), Rowling wrote several 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.”

“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.”

In response to one tweet — “Takes one TERF to know another, I guess…?” — Rowling wrote, “‘Feminazi’, ‘TERF’, ‘bitch’, ‘witch’. Times change. Woman-hate is eternal.”

Radcliffe, who doesn’t have public social media accounts, addressed Harry Potter fans whose love for the seven books might have been affected by Rowling’s recent comments.

“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 and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”

Rowling’s tweets have been criticized in the past. In December, Rowling received backlash for supporting a researcher who lost her job after tweeting that a person can’t change their biological sex.

“Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. CC: JK Rowling,” The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, tweeted in response.

Read Radcliffe’s full post on The Trevor Project.

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