In recent months, Rowling, 54, has been criticised by many after posting a series of tweets that were widely described as “anti-trans”.
She then elaborated upon her views in a lengthy blog post that was criticised by LGBT+ advocacy groups and others for containing inaccuracies, and perpetuating harmful beliefs about transgender people.
As Harry Potter fan sites distanced themselves from the author, actors who appeared in the film series, including Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, spoke out in support of transgender rights.
Margolyes, 79, who also appeared in the franchise, told The Times she “sympathised” with the actors, stating: “I know what has happened. [Rowling] has a rather conservative view of transgender people. I don’t think I do.”
She continued: “I can’t make it out. It’s a matter of personal happiness for people and I think that’s what you should concentrate on. If you seriously want to become a woman you should be allowed to.
“You can’t be fascist about it. I think it’s confusing.”
Margolyes played Professor Sprout in 2001 film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Websites The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet released a joint statement saying that the best-selling author’s views on “marginalised people” are ”out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books and celebrated by the Harry Potter community”.
They said that site members had found it difficult to speak out against the author having respected her work for so long, but specified that “it would be wrong not to use our platforms to counteract the harm she has caused”.
Rowling recently tweeted praise of seminal horror novelist Stephen King, but deleted her comment when the Misery author tweeted back: “Trans women are women.”
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