Daniel Radcliffe Says He's 'Deeply Sorry for the Pain' Caused by J.K. Rowling's Tweets on Gender Identity
In a short essay for the Trevor Project published on Monday, Radcliffe recognized that his statements risked interpretation as "in-fighting" between himself and the author. But the 30-year-old actor said, "that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now."
Radcliffe, who starred as the titular teenage wizard in the Harry Potter movie franchise based on Rowling's book series, stated definitively in the article that "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," Radcliffe wrote.
"According to The Trevor Project, 78 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity," Radcliffe wrote. "It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm."
"I am still learning how to be a better ally," Radcliffe said, encouraging others to join him in reading The Trevor Project’s educational resource, Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth.
Radcliffe continued to encourage fans of Harry Potter not to let Rowling's comments ruin the series for them.
"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," Radcliffe said. "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."
As defined by the Trevor Project, "transgender" describes "people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Many transgender people will transition to align their gender expression with their gender identity, however, you do not have to transition in order to be transgender."
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The LGBTQ advocacy organization also points out that "sex" is "the classification of a person as male, female, or intersex," which is assigned at birth based on a person's genitalia. "Gender," on the other hand, "describes our internal understanding and experience of our own gender identity."
A person's assigned sex at birth does not always correspond with their gender identity.
On Saturday, Rowling, 54, sent out several tweets that seemed to ignore the distinction between sex and gender.
Retweeting a Devex article titled "Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate," Rowling wrote, "‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"
After swift criticism on Twitter, Rowling sent out a few more tweets in her own defense.
"I’ve spent much of the last three years reading books, blogs and scientific papers by trans people, medics and gender specialists," she said in response to a since-deleted tweet. "I know exactly what the distinction is. Never assume that because someone thinks differently, they have no knowledge."
"If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction," Rowling continued. "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."
The author said that the idea that she didn't support trans women was "nonsense."
"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."
"I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them," Rowling added in another tweet. "I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so."
In December, Rowling came under fire in a similar situation after expressing her support for Maya Forstater, a British researcher who was fired from the Centre for Global Development for anti-transgender sentiments.