Daniel Radcliffe Reacts to J.K. Rowling's Controversial Comments About Transgender People

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe shared an extended response to author J.K. Rowling's controversial Saturday tweets about transgender women. In an emotional statement shared on The Trevor Project, Radcliffe took a stand, writing that "transgender women are women." In her tweets on Saturday, Rowling argued that if "sex isn't real," there is "no same-sex attraction," and the "lived reality of women globally is erased."

In his essay Monday, Radcliffe said he felt "compelled" to respond to Rowling, who is "unquestionably responsible" for his career. "Transgender women are women," Radcliffe wrote. "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 noted that 78 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth say they have been discriminated against because of their gender identity and more must be done to support them.

Radcliffe went onto apologize for the "pain" Radcliffe's comments may have caused, especially to those who have loved Rowling's Harry Potter books. The author's comments should not tarnish the way a fan engages with the 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," Radcliffe wrote. "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."

On Saturday, Rowling caused a social media firestorm when she criticized an article headlined, "Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate." In response, the author wrote, "I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?" She later published a series of tweets on sex, suggesting that talking about gender identity "erases" the "lived reality" of women.

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"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," Rowling 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."

Rowling's comments earned instant condemnation on social media. "JK Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans. In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people," GLAAD wrote. "We stand with trans youth, especially those Harry Potter fans hurt by her inaccurate and cruel tweets."