Daniel Radcliffe is responding to “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling‘s recent comments about gender and sex, which many have deemed transphobic.
Radcliffe, who starred as the title character in the film adaptation of Rowling’s fantasy series, wrote an essay for LGBTQ non-profit organization The Trevor Project in which he criticized her views.
“Transgender women are women,” the actor wrote. “It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”
Though the actor noted that Rowling is “unquestionably responsible” for the course of his life, he added he still feels “compelled to say something at this moment.”
“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 continued. “I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.”
Radcliffe added he hopes “Harry Potter” fans will not let Rowling’s comments ruin their interpretations of her books.
“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. “And in my opinion nobody can touch that.”
J.K. Rowling criticizes article about gender identity
Less than six months after the writer was slammed for showing support for Maya Forstater, a researcher who lost her job at a think tank for stating that people cannot change their biological sex, Rowling made a similar stir in criticizing a headline on the website devex.com. The op-ed piece included the phrase “people who menstruate” in an effort to be more inclusive.
“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people,” Rowling tweeted Saturday. “Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
After facing backlash, Rowling, 54, stood her ground, claiming her life “has been shaped by being female” and defended the exclusionary comments while arguing she still supports transgender people.
“I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives,” she wrote in a series of tweets. “It isn’t hate to speak the truth … 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.”
Mark Hutchinson, Rowling’s representative, told USA TODAY she would not be commenting further.
GLAAD, more denounce ‘Harry Potter’ author on social media for comments
GLAAD issued a response over Twitter, criticizing Rowling for “inaccurate and cruel” messaging, recommending that those who were frustrated by her comments donate to organizations that support black transgender people such as the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, the National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition and U.K. Black Pride.
“JK Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans,” the statement read. “In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people. We stand with trans youth, especially those Harry Potter fans hurt by her inaccurate and cruel tweets.”
Justice Smith comes out:The star calls for black queer and trans representation in protests
Fans on social media met Rowling’s comments with incredulity, wondering why the author seemingly made the comments out of her own volition while the rest of the world has been focusing on protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as Pride Month, a time meant to honor and celebrate members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness sounded off on Rowling in a series of tweets Saturday, writing, “Trans women are women.”
“Trans Black people & trans non-Black people are discriminated against every single day,” he continued. “They’re dying. We’re fighting for Black people & trans people and you’re doing this?”
Van Ness also encouraged his followers to donate to a GoFundMe for black transgender women in Atlanta who are “sex workers and/or homeless.”
“I’m so (expletive) mad I read the Sorting Hat,” added the reality star, who read chapter seven of Rowling’s book “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” alongside Olivia Coleman and Kate McKinnon, as part of Harry Potter at Home.
Louis Peitzman also replied to Rowling, tweeting: “The fact that this is your priority right now, that you have a pathological need to keep harping on this – what a truly disappointing human you have turned out to be. The trans people you claim to love deserve better than you. Happy Pride Month, Jo!”
“I assure you, (trans people) do not love you back,” added “Matilda” star Mara Wilson.
“Not all women menstruate and not all who menstruate are women,” replied charity organization I Support The Girls. “There are many girls, non-binary (folks), trans boys, and trans men who also get a period. We recognize that language change can be uncomfortable.”
“The Good Place” actress Jameela Jamil called on Rowling to donate to charities that support homeless black transgender women.
Munroe Bergdorf, the first transgender woman to model for L’Oreal in the U.K., called the state of the world “hard enough without YOU, a wealthy white woman, tweeting transphobia from your mansion.”
“Do us all a favour and give it a rest,” she added. “To say that you’re a disappointment is an understatement.”
What does the acronym ‘TERF’ mean?
“TERF” is an acronym for “trans exclusionary radical feminists,” referring to feminists who are transphobic.
Writing in a 2018 Guardian piece, activist Viv Smythe says she’s credited with coining the term after writing about trans ally-ship over a decade ago. She says its a way of describing feminists “who self-identify as radical and are unwilling to recognise trans women as sisters, unlike those of us who do.”
Contributing: Charles Trepany