Daniel Radcliffe said he felt it was “really important” to speak out against JK Rowling’s comments on trans people.
The actor said he had met many young queer and trans people who had a “huge amount of identification with [Harry] Potter” and he “wanted them to know that not everybody in the franchise felt that way”.
Author JK Rowling received widespread criticism and was accused of transphobia following comments including a series of tweets on June 2020.
In one tweet from the time, Rowling took issue with a headline on an online article discussing “people who menstruate,” writing: “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Her comments were criticised by a number of LGBTQ+ charities as well as other Harry Potter actors including Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.
In an essay for the LGBT+ suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project at the time, Radcliffe stated that “transgender women are women”.
He said that while Rowling was “unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken… as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment”.
In the 2020 essay he wrote: “Transgender women are women. 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.
“According to The Trevor Project, 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, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”
In a recent interview with IndieWire, Radcliffe, 33, explained why he felt compelled to speak up.
He said: “The reason I was felt very, very much as though I needed to say something when I did was because, particularly since finishing ‘Potter,’ I’ve met so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter on that. And so seeing them hurt on that day I was like, I wanted them to know that not everybody in the franchise felt that way. And that was really important.”
He added: “It was really important as I’ve worked with the Trevor Project for more than ten years, and so I don’t think I would’ve been able to look myself in the mirror had I not said anything.”
Rowling claimed she felt the need to speak about the issue of transgender rights because of her own experiences of domestic abuse.
She also said she has since received threats from “hundreds of trans activists” – actions which were condemned by the UK Government.
The author did not feature in the Harry Potter 20th reunion special earlier this year, except in archive video clips.
The HBO Max special, Return to Hogwarts, saw Radcliffe reunite with actors Rupert Grint and Emma Watson to look back on the world famous film franchise, adapted from Rowling’s book series.