Here Are All the ‘Harry Potter’ Stars Who Have Responded to JK Rowling’s Transphobia
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JK Rowling has taken a hammer to our childhoods these last few years by exposing herself as a TERF (a trans-exclusionary radical feminist), repeatedly doubling-down on hateful (and harmful) comments. But many Harry Potter stars have pushed back against JK Rowling’s transphobia, as you’ll see below.
For those who have been living under a rock for all this time, JK Rowling’s transphobia was initially made public with a June 6, 2020 tweet, in which she took issue with an op-ed that referred to “people who menstruate,” furious that the word “women” was not used. “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she tweeted in a feeble attempt at being clever. (Plenty of trans men — who are not women — happen to menstruate, which is why the terms “people who menstruate” and “women” are not synonymous.)
The backlash from that initial tweet has since seen Rowling double-down on TERF talking points several times. At one point she took to writing a manifesto on the topic on her personal webpage, tweeting the link with only the title “TERF wars.”
At one point she 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,” as if trans people aren’t discriminated against on the basis of being trans. Yet as far as we can tell, she has never “marched with” the trans community.
Most of her harmful perspective does not bear repeating here — or anywhere, for that matter — but it has been refreshing to see so many Harry Potter stars distance themselves from JK Rowling’s transphobia and respond with individual eloquence, nuance and thoughtfulness.
Here’s a roundup of what several Harry Potter stars have said about JK Rowling’s transphobia:
1. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)
Founded in 1998, The Trevor Project focuses on crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. With both grace and sensitivity, Daniel Radcliffe penned a beautiful response to JK Rowling’s transphobia, noting that any assertion that transwomen are anything but women “goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or [himself].”
Daniel goes on to remind readers of the immense discrimination transgender and nonbinary folk face, that it is our duty to support them, and that there are always ways to educate ourselves and become better allies.
Lastly, and I’m sure these words will come as a comfort to those of us who rightfully feel betrayed and angered by JK Rowling’s transphobia, Daniel — most prominent of all the Harry Potter stars — writes: “If these books taught you that … strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups … then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred.”
2. Katie Leung (Cho Chang)
So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes…(thread)
— Katie Leung (@Kt_Leung) June 7, 2020
In a flawless bait-and-switch move worthy of Ravenclaw, Katie Leung seemingly started a thread about Cho Chang, then dropped a link for the Homeless Black Trans women fund. Sometimes effective activism can be as simple as opening your wallet.
3. Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts films)
Eddie Redmayne spoke exclusively to Variety about his support and respect for the trans community. He said, “I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid,” going on to note that while speaking on behalf of the community would be inappropriate, the constant harassment of transfolk is exhausting.
4. Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)
Here are my thoughts. Sending love to all. ❤️💜💗🧡💛💚🤎🖤🤍 pic.twitter.com/P30YHfnzBN
— Evanna Lynch (@Evy_Lynch) June 9, 2020
Probably the most complicated of the cast responses, Evanna Lynch posted a four-note tweet about the issue, prefacing her response with a disclaimer: “It feels impossible to address this subject on Twitter.” While Evanna does eventually assert that trans women are women, the statement is lost in what appears to be an attempt at diplomacy — yet comes off lukewarm and spineless. She writes that Rowling is on the “wrong side of the debate,” positing the view that trans identities and lives are up for debate.
They are not.
Evanna’s focus on Rowling’s generosity, and her contention that those who are harmed by bigoted and hateful comments heal better through kindness and understanding, are completely inappropriate. It is not allyship to dictate how trans and nonbinary folk respond when faced with blatant disrespect. Evanna Lynch’s tweets are filled with (rightfully) disappointed fans.
5. Emma Watson (Hermione Granger)
Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) June 10, 2020
Following Rowling’s initial tweets, Emma Watson immediately clapped back: “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are. I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you, and love you for who you are,” she wrote in a series of tweets.
Straight to the point, Watson followed up her support for transfolk with donations to two incredible organizations: Mermaids, which has provided support, education and understanding for trans youth and their families since 1995, and Mama Cash, the oldest international feminist fund.
More recently, at the BAFTAs on March 13, 2022, as Rebel Wilson introduced Emma Watson to present the award for Outstanding British Film, she said, “Here to present the next award is Emma Watson. She calls herself a feminist, but we all know she’s a witch.”
Emma Watson is a queen for this pic.twitter.com/fng3dHsfYJ
— Joe🥤 (@JoePassmore) March 13, 2022
Emma replied with the delightful quip of “I’m here for all of the witches,” making it clear that she’s throwing shade at JK Rowling following her latest TERF meltdown on International Women’s Day 2022.
6. Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley)
If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for you, that love is infinite and there to take without judgment or question. Transwomen are Women. I see and love you, Bonnie x
— Bonnie Wright (@thisisbwright) June 10, 2020
Much like Daniel, Bonnie Wright acknowledged the deeply rooted love so many of us have for Harry Potter, and reminded the public that transwomen are women.
While it is apparent that JK Rowling’s transphobia makes her unworthy of the series and characters she created, I think it’s safe to say that the kids are alright.
7. Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley)
The actor released a statement to UK paper The Times responding to JK Rowling’s transphobia, making it clear he supports the trans community.
“I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. Trans women are women. Trans men are men,” he said. “We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”
8. Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley)
My beautiful, brave, strong, trans friends and house of #ChrisNess family. We love you. I can’t say it enough. You’re wonderful, and deserve to be treated as such.
Please know that.
Be proud of who you are. We are proud of you ❤️
— Chris Rankin (@chrisrankin) June 6, 2020
As several other cast members had done in the wake of Rowling’s transphobic essay, Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley, also showed his support to the trans community with a tweet.
9. Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid)
The actor who played Hagrid is one of the only Harry Potter stars to defend Rowling. “I don’t think what she said was offensive, really. I don’t know why but there’s a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended,” he reportedly told Radio Times. “They wouldn’t have won the war, would they? That’s me talking like a grumpy old man, but you just think, Oh, get over yourself. Wise up, stand up straight, and carry on.” He continued, “I don’t want to get involved in all of that because of all the hate mail and all that shit, which I don’t need at my time of life.”
What are your thoughts on all these Harry Potter stars who have responded to JK Rowling’s transphobia?
This article was originally published in June 2020. It has since been updated.
Featured image at top: Reuters