Daniel Radcliffe to J.K. Rowling: ‘Transgender Women Are Women’
On June 6, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling continued her history of anti-trans tweets with a new thread defining people who menstruate as women. Trans men and nonbinary people who menstruate reminded her that biology alone does not define gender. On June 8, Daniel Radcliffe, who played Potter in the film adaptations, wrote a statement in support of trans people.
Radcliffe wrote a brief post published on The Trevor Project website. Read his response to Rowling below.
This is not ‘Harry Potter and the Feud Between J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe’
First, Radcliffe wanted to be sure his post not get framed as him slamming the creator of his seminal franchise. He still showed respect for Rowling, but stood up to her.
“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. “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.”
Daniel Radcliffe makes it simple
Rowling’s issue with trans women goes back at least several years when she tweeted solidarity with Maya Forstater. Forstater lost her contract with the Centre for Global Development when she objected to their definition of women. Rowling has been saying things like “sex is real,” invalidating trans people who transition later in life. Radcliffe has no such confusion.
“Transgender women are women,” he 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.”
Daniel Radcliffe recommends more trans ally resources
When you know better, you do better. Radcliffe’s hope is that people like Rowling educate themselves so they can do better for marginalized people. Radcliffe still considers himself undergoing the learning process.
“I am still learning how to be a better ally, so if you want to join me in learning more about transgender and nonbinary identities check out The Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth,” Radcliffe said. “It’s an introductory educational resource that covers a wide range of topics, including the differences between sex and gender, and shares best practices on how to support transgender and nonbinary people.”
You don’t have to throw out your ‘Harry Potter’ books
Rowling’s persistent stance has been challenging to fans of her books. Trans people and their allies wonder if they have to give up Harry Potter altogether, if his creator can be so hurtful. Radcliffe offers some support.
“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,” Radcliffe said. “I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.”
However, Radcliffe feels the themes of Rowlings book transcend the author’s comments.
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.
Daniel Radcliffe, blog post on The Trevor Project, 6/8/2020