Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe defends trans women after JK Rowling tweets

On June 6, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling tweeted in opposition to an op-ed that used the statement “people who menstruate.” Rowling has been vocal about her trans-exclusionary position on social media; in December, the author tweeted a hashtag in support of a woman who had been fired from her workplace for transphobic behavior. Early last month, she accidentally copy-pasted an explicit quote from a news story misgendering a trans woman in a tweet meant to praise a young fan’s artwork.

In response to Rowling’s anti-trans words, Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter in all eight movie adaptations of the books, penned a statement for the Trevor Project, an organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning youth. While aware that the message could look like “in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself,” Radcliffe’s work with The Trevor Project over the last decade, and “just as a human being,” compelled him to speak out.

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. 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.

Fans — especially members of the LGBTQ community — were hurt after Rowling’s comments. Over the years, many have found joy in the magical world of Harry Potter, turning to the books for their message of love triumphing over evil. The book series remains a cultural phenomenon, having spawned movies and theme parks, as well as a hefty world of unlicensed fan-generated content that exists almost completely separate from Rowling in the minds of fans.

Radcliffe recognized this in his statement ,and included a section devoted to recognizing the relationship individual readers have with the books, characters, and world of Harry Potter.

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. 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.

The full statement can be found on the Trevor Project’s website.