Reacting to author JK Rowling’s controversial tweets on transgender people, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has argued that “transgender women are women” and it has now become more important than ever to “not cause further harm” to the community.
Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, the titular boy wizard in the film franchise based on the British author’s bestselling books for 10 years, penned his thoughts in an essay for the website of the Trevor Project, a non-profit dedicated to crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ people.
On June 6, Rowling drew outrage on Twitter when she criticised an opinion piece that used the phrase “people who menstruate” and posited that discussion of gender identity invalidates biological sex.
In the beginning of the article published Monday, the 30-year-old actor also acknowledged that the media may paint his statement as “in-fighting” between him and Rowling.
While he was clear that the writer was “unquestionably responsible” for the course of his life, he felt the need to speak out, he explained.
“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 added.
The British actor cited that 78 per cent of transgender and nonbinary youth have reported that they have been discriminated against due to their gender identity.
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
“It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm,” he wrote. Further he gives links to an 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.
In her tweets, Rowling had said 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,” she wrote. “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,” she further said.
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
Rowling’s tweets drew outrage from the LGBTQ community and others who were upset with her comments on social media, with many Harry Potter fans expressing disappointment that the author had tarnished their love for her books.
Directly addressing the fans, Radcliffe said he is “deeply sorry” for the pain these comments have caused, hoping that those words won’t too much “taint” the meaning of the Harry Potter books for them.
“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,” he said.
Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the film franchise, has started a Spotify playlist of podcasts, writing, analysis and discussion that have helped me understand systemic racism, white supremacy and the experiences of black people, indigenous people and people of colour recently. The playlist, titled Our Shared Podcast, will throw light via thought-provoking conversations, discussions and more in the wake of worldwide protests on Black Lives Matter sparked by the death of George Floyd.
— with agency inputs