On Saturday, J.K. Rowling made controversial comments on Twitter about trans people that upset and angered many. It began with a joke about menstruation and went downhill from there, especially once she tried to clarify and double- then triple-down on her comment. It prompted a massive backlash, including among those love her Harry Potter books. Now Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, has joined in the fray.
The actor posted his statement on the site for The Trevor Project, the non-profit devoted to suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth. Radcliffe didn’t come out swinging, but nor did he go easy on the author who made his name.
“I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now,” Radcliffe wrote at the outset. “While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, 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.”
In her tweets, Rowling called into question gender fluidity, 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.”
Radcliffe didn’t condemn Rowling’s words, but he did bluntly contradict them. “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.”
The actor went into statistics on the staggering number of transgender and non-binary youth who report discrimination, and implored those who don’t take the matter seriously to educate themselves. He ended with a message to Potter fans who were distraught by their creator’s comments:
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.
You can read Radcliffe’s full statement at The Trevor Project.