Daniel Radcliffe is “deeply sorry for the pain” caused by J.K. Rowling’s recent comments, which many have perceived to be “transphobic.”
In an essay for The Trevor Project published Monday, the “Harry Potter” actor stands in solidarity with the transgender community while admitting that he is “still learning how to be a better ally.”
“Transgender women are women,” the British star declared. “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 [Rowling] or I.”
Though many may interpret the 30-year-old’s letter to be a clap back toward the “Harry Potter” book author, “that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now,” he said.
“To all the people who now feel that their experience of the [“Harry Potter”] 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 wrote.
“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,” he concluded.
Over the weekend, Rowling made headlines where she criticized the headline of a Devex article titled “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”
“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” Rowling wrote, suggesting the outlet should have used the word “women” in their headline.
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
Almost immediately, several social media users criticized Rowling for failing to distinguish between sex and gender, and also being “transphobic” in her views.
“Actually Joanne, girls, women, and many men and nonbinary people menstruate too. So ‘people’ is the correct term. Very cool that you’ve just decided to air your transphobia now though. Proud of your honesty, if nothing else,” said one Twitter commenter.
“J.K. Rowling is a transphobic piece of ----!!!!” exclaimed another.
“You are embarrassing. The world is reckoning with white supremacy and police brutality and you’ve decided to use your massive platform to gender police? (Btw, gender and sex aren’t the same thing. Look it up.) Your books meant so much to me but you are disgraceful. Shame on you,” Shannon Purser, an actress known for appearing on “Stranger Things,” wrote to Rowling.
After receiving backlash, Rowling wrote more tweets, saying she supports the trans community and acknowledges the distinction between sex and gender. However, the author stands firm in her beliefs about the notion of “sex.”
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.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
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.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020