Daniel Radcliffe responds to controversial J.K. Rowling tweets: “Transgender women are women”

"We need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm"

Daniel Radcliffe has penned a short essay in response to the criticism and accusations of transphobia that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has faced since the weekend, with the actor stating in his piece that “transgender women are women”.

Rowling has faced a backlash after she shared an article on Saturday (June 6) titled ‘Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate’ and wrote: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Defending her views in a subsequent post, Rowling wrote: “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.”

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Among those to have criticised Rowling for her posts include Jameela Jamil, Sarah Paulson and Halsey, with the latter claiming that the writer “invalidated trans people” with her tweets.

JK Rowling
JK Rowling (Picture: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Radcliffe, who played the titular lead role in the Harry Potter film series between 2001 and 2011, has now issued his response to Rowling’s tweets in a short essay that has been published on the LGBTQ crisis intervention and suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project.

In his piece, Radcliffe stated that “transgender women are women”, saying that “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 [Rowling] or I”.

Addressing those Harry Potter fans “who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished”, Radcliffe said he was “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,” he continued. “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.

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Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

“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.”

Adding that “we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm”, Radcliffe said he was “still learning how to be a better ally” and pointed readers to check out resources that have been published by The Trevor Project.

Radcliffe also acknowledged that “certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself” and that the author is “unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken”.

“As someone who has been honoured 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,” the actor added.

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