Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, spoke out about J.K. Rowling’s transphobic tweet
Proving yet again that she cannot read the room, over the weekend (and in the midst of a public health crisis, a human rights crisis, and Pride Month), J.K. Rowling fired off a series of illogical and ultimately hateful transphobic tweets in which she claimed that “people who menstruate” should only equate to cis biological women. In a short essay published by The Trevor Project on June 8th, Daniel Radcliffe himself joined the chorus of Rowling’s critics, stating clearly, “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 wrote.
The actor opened his statement by expressing gratitude to Rowling for shaping “the course my life has taken,” and asserting that this is not indicative of “in-fighting” between the two. But since Radcliffe has worked with The Trevor Project for a decade, and, more simply, he is “a human being” with both a heart and a brain, he felt “compelled to say something.”
To quickly recap the dumpster fire that is Rowling’s Twitter presence: After claiming that only women can menstruate, she bizarrely brought sex into the conversation, writing, “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.”
There are so many problems with this tweet, but to point out just one: Biological sex and gender identity are not the same thing. And remember that this is not the first time Rowling has made such uninformed and unfeeling statements about trans people, as evidenced by her 2019 tweet below (and a series of tweets following).
So, this is also not the first time Rowling has alienated legions of Harry Potter fans—perhaps especially fans in the LGBTQ+ community—who feel betrayed by her insensitive comments.
Radcliffe addressed Harry Potter fans in his essay directly, 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.”
He then encouraged people not to let the writer’s comments detract from their experiences reading her books.
“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 wrote.
Crucially, too, Radcliffe wrote that he’s continually learning about how to be a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community and provided some recommended reading: The Trevor Project’s own Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth. Among other things, this introductory guide covers “the differences between sex and gender and shares best practices on how to support transgender and nonbinary people.”
Well, we can think of at least one person who needs to read this!