“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe wrote in an essay posted to the website of the Trevor Project, a non-profit dedicated to crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ people. “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.”
The 30-year-old actor cited that 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth have reported they’ve been discriminated against 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,” Radcliffe wrote.
On Saturday, Rowling posted a series of tweets in which she argued that discussion of gender identity invalidates biological sex.
“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,” Rowling wrote. “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.”
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 author was immediately criticized by an array of people, including prominent queer activists and organizations, for denying the lived consequences of trans people’s experiences. Many “Harry Potter” fans also expressed anguish that Rowling had damaged, perhaps irreparably, their love for the seven books.
Radcliffe directly addressed those fans in his essay on Monday.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
In opening his essay, Radcliffe acknowledged that the media may paint his statement as “in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself,” and he was clear that Rowling was “unquestionably responsible” for the course of his life. But he felt he had to speak out.
“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,” he wrote, “I feel compelled to say something at this moment.”