Daniel Radcliffe has said he is 'deeply sorry for any pain caused', following outrage over a series of tweets written by JK Rowling.
Over the weekend, the Harry Potter author issued a series of tweets, which many have since accused of being transphobic.
It began when the author shared her reaction to an article titled 'Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate', commenting: '"People who menstruate." I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?'.
She was immediately criticised for failing to acknowledge, and therefore excluding, trans men and non-binary people who can also menstruate, with many (including major US LGBTQ+ organisation GLAAD) accusing her of being 'anti-trans' and transphobic, suggesting this could be particularly upsetting for any Harry Potter fans who have struggled or are struggling with gender issues.
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
Similarly, Rowling was also faced with tweets reminding her that trans women may not menstruate, which does not make them any less woman, and that also some cisgender women do not menstruate for a whole breadth of medical reasons.
On Monday evening, following the outrage, Harry Potter himself spoke up penning an essay for LGBTQ+ youth charity The Trevor Project where he apologised for the pain caused by his former mentor's tweets.
'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.'
“78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people” 👏— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) June 9, 2020
Thank you Daniel Radcliffe for all your support 💗https://t.co/C56gu10Fkk
Radcliffe began the essay by acknowledging that some media outlets could frame his comments as in-fighting between himself and Rowling but said he felt compelled to speak up as someone who continues to work with organisations like the Trevor Project and commit to being a better ally to trans people.
The 30-year-old, who was cast as the main character in the eight film portrayals of the seven history-making books when he was just 11-years-old, also stated that he realised Rowling 'is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken'.
'Transgender women are women,' Radcliffe 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.'
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
The actor has been praised on social media in response to his essay, including from Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski, make-up mogul Jeffree Starr and Derry Girls actor Nicola Coughlan.
Rowling has not responded to Radcliffe's comments. In some follow-up tweets to her first over the weekend, she defended herself against allegations of transphobia stating that she would march with trans people '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.'
Some facts on the reality of being trans - for anyone who needs this today.— stonewalluk (@stonewalluk) June 7, 2020
Trans women are women.
Trans men are men.
Non-binary identities are valid. https://t.co/NgjVkkiZOV
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