The “Harry Potter” scribe came under fire over tweets seen by many as examples of her being anti-transgender, including an attack on the phrase “people who menstruate” used over the term “women.”
“Transgender women are women.”
The boy who brought the boy who lived to life on the silver screen is distancing himself from the woman who brought the boy to life on the page after a series of tweets over the weekend had fans calling J.K. Rowling anti-transgender.
Daniel Radcliffe took his thoughtful and lengthy response to The Trevor Project, a non-profit dedicated to suicide prevention among the LGBTQ+ community.
While Radcliffe has had an association with Rowling for nearly two decades now, he’s been heavily involved with The Trevor Project for the past decade. Considering the context and content of her tweets, it made sense to speak out from that platform as a place where Potter fans impacted by her perceived views may find resources and help.
He was also quick to point out that his statement should not be seen as some sort of feud between Rowling and Radcliffe. “Just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment,” he wrote.
“Transgender women are women,” he continued. “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.”
He went on to emphasize the disproportionate extremes of bullying and discrimination transgender individuals face in all aspects of their daily lives. “It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people,” he wrote. “Not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”
Realizing how important the “Harry Potter” stories are to some of its most diehard fans, Radcliffe attempted to help them begin the idea of separating the body of work that meant so much to them from the author, who is proving problematic for many.
It’s not an easy thing to do, and in some cases and for some people it may prove impossible. But there is certainly precedent for allowing the art to stand outside of the artist.
“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. 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.”
Rowling came under fire on Saturday when she mocked the headline of an article talking about COVID-19 and hygiene with the phrase “people who menstruate.” The author clearly took issue with that descriptor being available for more than one gender identity.
She followed up those comments with a confusing attempt to clarify, writing, “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.
“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. 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.”
Immediately following, Rowling became the subject of an “is canceled” party on Twitter, with K-Pop stans subverting the intent of an “I stand with” hashtag much like they did the “White Lives Matter” tag in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
GLAAD also quickly spoke out against Rowling’s tweets with one of their own: “JK Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans. In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people.”
Actress Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang in the films, responded to the controversy in a brilliant way. “So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes…,” she tweeted. She then followed that up with four tweets linking to different organizations dedicated to helping black trans people, wrapping it up with the hashtag #AsiansForBlackLives.
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