Jonathan Van Ness said he's "mad" that he participated in a recent Harry Potter web series following the author's comments

By Benjamin VanHoose
June 08, 2020 04:11 PM
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Jonathan Van Ness and J.K. Rowling
Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock; Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Jonathan Van Ness is distancing himself from J.K. Rowling after her incendiary comments on transgender rights.

On Saturday, the bestselling Harry Potter author, 54, tweeted her disagreement with the inclusive term "people who menstruate," sharing that, in her mind, "if sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased." Rowling faced immediate backlash.

Van Ness, 33, tweeted that "trans women are women."

"Trans Black people & trans non-Black people are discriminated against every single day. They’re dying. We’re fighting for Black people & trans people and you’re doing this?" the Queer Eye star wrote to Rowling.

Encouraging followers to donate to the Homeless Black Trans Women Fund, Van Ness also expressed regret over recently participating in a web series in which celebs read portions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone aloud.

Last month, he read the part of the Sorting Hat alongside Olivia Colman and Kate McKinnon. "I’m so f---ing mad I read the Sorting Hat @jk_rowling," Van Ness tweeted.

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Rowling — who has previously come under fire for her "sex is real" views — stood by her statements over the weekend, writing that it "isn’t hate to speak the truth."

"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," the author tweeted.

"I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans," Rowling added. "At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so."

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Van Ness, who identifies as gender nonbinary, is an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights. In March, he debuted a children's picture book titled Peanut Goes for the Gold that explores the topic of gender expression through a cartoon guinea pig.

“Growing up, the things that made me unique were not always celebrated, and I wanted to do something that would inspire kids to celebrate the things that make them special,” Van Ness told PEOPLE in January about the "inspiring" project.