JK Rowling trans row: What have Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint said in response?

Author has been accused of ‘transphobia’ following series of tweets

Isobel Lewis
Friday 12 June 2020 16:37 BST
JK Rowling in lengthy explanation over transgender comments

Rupert Grint has become the latest member of the Harry Potter cast to condemn JK Rowling for her comments about trans people.

Less than a week after she originally faced backlash for tweeting in criticism of the trans-inclusive phrase “people with periods”, the children’s book author published a lengthy open letter to her website on Wednesday (10 June) breaking down her stance on transgender issues.

In response, Grint, who played Ron in the fantasy franchise, told The Times that he agreed with his former castmates in standing with the transgender community after a number of Harry Potter stars distanced themselves from Rowling’s words to support their transgender fans.

Daniel Radcliffe

The star of the Harry Potter franchise, Daniel Radcliffe, was one of the first actors involved in the films to call out Rowling, in an essay penned for LGBTQ+ suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project on Monday (8 June).

“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe 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.

“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 continued.

“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.”

Emma Watson

A vocal feminist activist, Emma Watson was pictured wearing a t-shirt which reads: “Trans rights are human rights”. The image was widely circulated on social media in the wake of Rowling’s initial comments, but the actor officially spoke out following the publishing of the author’s blog post.

“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 tweeted.

“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.”

Adding that she had donated to charities Mermaids and Mama Cash, the actor encouraged her followers to do the same, concluding: “Happy #PRIDE2020 Sending love x.”

Rupert Grint

On Friday (12 June), Grint joined his Harry Potter castmates in showing support for the trans community following Rowling’s comments.

“I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers,” Grint said. “Trans women are women. Trans men are men.”

He continued: “We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”

Bonnie Wright

Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley in the franchise, joined Watson in showing support for trans Harry Potter fans after Rowling’s essay was released.

“If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for you, that love is infinite and there to take without judgment or question,” she wrote.

“Transwomen are Women. I see and love you, Bonnie x.”

Evanna Lynch

Luna Lovegood actor Evanna Lynch joined Radcliffe in explicitly apologising to trans Harry Potter fans who had felt “abandoned” byRowling’s comments, adding that people should “listen to” and “applaud” trans people for their bravery, especially during Pride Month.

“I imagine that being trans and learning to accept and love yourself is challenging enough and we as a society should not be adding to that pain,” the Irish actor wrote.

“Feeling like you don’t fit in or aren’t accepted for who you are are the worst, most lonely feelings a human can experience and I won’t be helping to marginalise trans women and men further.”

Lynch continued: “I’m so sorry to any trans people who feel that’s been taken away or that this community is no longer that safe place. But the Harry Potter world/fandom/community is literally made up of millions of people now and I for one will work to make it feel inclusive because trans women are women.”

Katie Leung

Katie Leung played Harry’s love interest Cho Chang in the film series, a character whose name has been widely criticised as racially and culturally insensitive. In the wake of Rowling’s original tweets, many fans made reference to Leung’s character on social media.

In response, Leung tweeted on Saturday (6 June): “So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes...”

However, instead of sharing her opinion, Leung linked to several online fundraisers, petitions and charities explicitly supporting black trans people, adding the hashtag: “#AsiansForBlackLives.”

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