Daniel Radcliffe has consistently proven to be the Harry Potter we all need and deserve even while Harry Potter's creator, J.K. Rowling, has spouted transphobic, harmful rhetoric. Rowling recently came under fire for retweeting an article that mentioned "people who menstruate" and implying that the author of the article must have forgotten the word "women."
This is TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) language; it excludes some trans women who don't menstruate (not to mention, cis women who don't either!) and some trans men, who do. When called out for her anti-trans language, she doubled down in a thread.
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.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
This isn't the first time J.K. Rowling has been criticized for transphobic comments. In late 2019, she tweeted in support of Maya Forstater, a British woman who was fired because of her anti-trans tweets.
Many Harry Potter fans are understandably devastated that the author of such an iconic series could be so ignorant and dismissive of trans people. Luckily, Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, has jumped in and spoken out against Rowling's comments in a powerful blog post for the Trevor Project.
The Trevor Project is a crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ+ young people. It's also an organization that Daniel Radcliffe has worked with in the past and, according to his post, continues to contribute to still.
In his post, he starts by saying that he realizes that press outlets might see this as "in-fighting" between him and J.K. Rowling, but he stresses that that's not what this is about, nor is it important. "While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken," he writes, "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."
"Transgender women are women," he continues. "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 goes on to say that he is still "learning how to be a better ally," and he provides sources for others to join him on that journey. Then, he speaks directly to Harry Potter fans.
"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."
There is real and layered criticism to be said about many aspects of the Harry Potter series. But for lots of kids growing up, it's a magical world that activates their imagination, one that's full of resonant characters that speak to them on an important level. It's hard to hear that the series' creator is transphobic.
Daniel Radcliffe knows how devastating this is. He made sure to use his power, as the actor who played Harry Potter, to speak out against J.K. Rowling's transphobic comments and stand up for the fans she has let down. As one Twitter user put it, "Him using his voice like this is true magic. This is our Harry Potter."