Daniel Radcliffe writes essay supporting trans community after JK Rowling controversy: ‘Trans women are women’

Actor said he hoped the Harry Potter author’s widely condemned comments would not ‘taint’ the books for fans

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 09 June 2020 06:29 BST
JK Rowling criticised over ‘transphobic’ tweet about menstruation.mp4

Daniel Radcliffe has expressed his support for the trans community after Harry Potter author JK Rowling made a number of controversial tweets over the weekend.

Rowling, who has made anti-trans comments in the past, appeared to take issue with a headline about “people who menstruate” and later argued that discussion of gender identity invalidated biological 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,” Rowling wrote.

“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.”

Rowling was immediately criticised by a number of trans people, activists, fellow members of the LBGTQ+ community, and by her fellow celebrities. LGBTQ+ Harry Potter fans also expressed their distress at Rowling’s views.

Radcliffe, who starred as the title character in the hit film adaptation of Rowling’s books, has since written an essay for The Trevor Project, a non-profit organisation dedicated to crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ people.

“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe says. “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.”

The 30-year-old actor cited the statistic that 78 per cent of transgender and nonbinary youth have reported they’ve been discriminated against 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,” he continued.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

He explained that while Rowling was "unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken... as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment”.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Radcliffe has expressed his support for LGBTQ+ rights in the past, and campaigned for marriage equality in the US before it was legalised.

“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,” he wrote, “I feel compelled to say something at this moment.”

You can read the full essay and learn about the Trevor Project here

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in