He schooled her. Daniel Radcliffe’s reaction to J.K. Rowling’s transphobic comment deserves a round of applause. ICYMI, Rowling came under fire on Saturday, June 6, after she failed to acknowledge the trans community in a tweet about people who menstruate. Rowling was further criticized after she tried to explain herself in a tweet about sex.
“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”read Rowling’s first tweet in response to an article with the headline: “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”
After the backlash, the Harry Potter author went on tweet: “I’ve spent much of the last three years reading books, blogs and scientific papers by trans people, medics and gender specialists. I know exactly what the distinction is. Never assume that because someone thinks differently, they have no knowledge.”
She continued, “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. 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. 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.”
After her tweets, Rowling was slammed by GLAAD and celebrities like Jameela Jamil and Sarah Paulson. But one of the most notable reactions came from Radcliffe, who starred as Harry Potter in the film series based on Rowling’s bestselling books.
“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,” he wrote in an essay published by the Trevor Project on June 8. “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.”
He went on to include statistics that 78 percent of transgender and non-binary youth have been discriminated against because of their gender identity. “It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm,” he wrote, telling readers to read The Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth.
Radcliffe ended his essay with a message to Harry Potter readers who “now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished” because of Rowling’s tweets.
“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.”