Daniel Radcliffe responds to JK Rowling’s comments on gender identity

Mumbai | Updated on June 09, 2020

The Harry Potter actor calls for people to support transgender people and be an ally rather than causing further harm

“Harry Potter” lead actor, Daniel Radcliffe, responded to recent comments made by author JK Rowling that have received severe backlash for being ‘anti-transgender.’

The actor said that the tweets, by the author of the Harry Potter series, were “erasing the identity and dignity of transgender people.”

“I realise 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 said in an official statement.

The actor said that being part of the Trevor Project, a US-based non-profit dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ teens, he was compelled to speak up against Rowling’s comments despite her being a major contributor to his career. He further said that any statement contradicting that transgender women are women “erases their identity.”

“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 said.

The actor was referring to the series of tweets posted by Rowling on Saturday criticizing those who believe that a person's assigned sex at birth isn't “real.” The tweets were in response to the backlash she received in her criticism of the phrase “people who menstruate” used in an article.

“People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” Rowling had tweeted.

“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 had said.

“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 nonsense,” she added.

These comments have received a lot of backlash for being anti-transgender with some even labelling them as ‘transphobic’ on social media.

“According to The Trevor Project, 78 per cent of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity,” Radcliffe had said in his statement.

He called for people to support transgender people and be an ally rather than causing further harm. He also urged people to not let these comments affect their impression of Rowling’s work including 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,” he said.

“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 further said.

Published on June 09, 2020

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