This week, J.K. Rowling stunned her fans with a second round of transphobic comments on Twitter, months after a similar outburst last December. This time, the beloved Harry Potter author specifically mocked use of the phrase “people who menstruate” over “women” (the former of which includes transgender men), and claimed that “if sex isn’t real,” then women’s lives and challenges will be erased. Of course, the deny the existence of sex has never been the goal of transgender people, and many have chimed in suggesting Rowling educate herself on the difference between sex and gender. The latest (and greatest) reply has come from Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, who wrote an impassioned essay in fierce defense of transgender rights.
Radcliffe’s essay was published by The Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention program for LGBTQ youth. While the actor is nothing but grateful for Rowling’s influence on his career, he couldn’t stand by knowing how her comments would be received by transgender fans, many of whom found comfort in the world of Harry Potter.
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— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) June 9, 2020
“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,” Radcliffe wrote. “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.”
As Radcliffe goes on to point out, transgender youth are disproportionately likely to face discrimination. And a public call like Rowling’s questioning the validity of transgender people will only make those numbers worse.
“According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity,” says the actor. “It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”
Literally NO ONE said the concept of sex or womxn is erased.
The only thing erased here is YOU erasing the legitimacy of trans folks.
Please reconsider where you stand here, for trans folks and for so many who used to idolize you.
— Maddy Eisenberg (@maddyeisenberg) June 6, 2020
Finally, Radcliffe includes a note directly to the Harry Potter fans who felt a loss upon learning that Rowling, the architect of this magical world, held hateful beliefs that invalidated their identity.
“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 assures his fans. “And in my opinion nobody can touch that.”
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