Harry Potter star Emma Watson posted a public statement in support of the transgender community on Wednesday amid author J.K. Rowling's controversial tirade on the topic. Watson did not address Rowling in her post, nor did she reference Rowling's lengthy essay posted earlier in the day. However, fans had little doubt about what she was referencing.
"Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren't who they say they are," Watson wrote on Wednesday afternoon. "I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are." Watson joins fellow Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, along with others involved in the franchise in standing firmly alongside transgender people. Rowling's recent remarks about transgender identity have sparked a wave of controversy online.
Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) June 10, 2020
The recent backlash for Rowling began last week when she lashed out on Twitter against a transgender-inclusive headline, which delineated between "people who menstruate" and "women." In the aftermath, Rowling fought with some followers while making her own Twitter thread, implying that transgender activists are trying to suggest that "sex isn't real." On Wednesday, Rowling returned to the issue with an extended essay on her website about "sex and gender issues."
The essay was disappointing to many fans, as Rowling focused heavily on distinguishing between transgender women and cisgender women, suggesting that the push for transgender rights inherently threatens cisgender women's rights. It also implied that younger transgender people might not be mature enough to decide on their own identity and the historically improbable fear that predatory men will falsely identify as transgender to get into women's bathrooms.
On Monday, Radcliffe — who is not on social media — wrote his own essay on the subject, which was posted on The Trevor Project website. Having worked with the Trevor Project for years, Radcliffe explained that he did not feel he could stay silent on the topic any longer. Unlike Watson, he made it perfectly clear that he was responding to Rowling.
"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 wrote.