Twice in recent months, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has decided to tarnish her legacy by spouting transphobic comments on social media. The latest instance came over the weekend, when Rowling seemingly dismissed the existence of non-binary people and gender-nonconforming people. “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” Rowling tweeted. “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.”
Now, Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, is speaking out in support of the trans community in a new essay published to The Trevor Project.
Radcliffe, who portrayed the titular character in all eight Harry Potter films, said he felt “compelled to say something at this moment” even if it meant uncomfortable press headlines pitting him against Rowling.
“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 began. “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.”
“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe continued. “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. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to 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.”
Radcliffe then encouraged his fans to check out The Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth to better understand the differences between sex and gender.
To close his letter, Radcliffe addressed Harry Potter fans 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,” Ratcliffe wrote. “I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you. 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.”