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Daniel Radcliffe responds to J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans rhetoric: ‘It makes me really sad’

"I will continue to support the rights of all LGBTQ people"

By Emily Zemler

JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe (Picture: Getty)

Daniel Radcliffe has spoken out about J.K. Rowling‘s ongoing anti-transgender comments, saying that he is “really sad” the Harry Potter author has embraced that perspective.

Speaking to The Atlantic about his current role in the Broadway production of Merrily We Roll Along, Radcliffe discussed being part of the Harry Potter film franchise at such a young age and took the opportunity to comment on Rowling’s divisive anti-trans opinions.

“It makes me really sad, ultimately,” Radcliffe said. “I do look at the person that I met, the times that we met, and the books that she wrote, and the world that she created, and all of that is to me so deeply empathic.”

He confirmed that he has not had any contact with Rowling since she began making the comments. In 2020, Radcliffe was among the first Harry Potter cast members to speak up in defense of the trans community, writing an essay for the Trevor Project that acknowledged “transgender women are women.”

“I’d worked with the Trevor Project for 12 years and it would have seemed like, I don’t know, immense cowardice to me to not say something,” Radcliffe explained in the new interview. “I wanted to try and help people that had been negatively affected by the comments. And to say that if those are Jo’s views, then they are not the views of everybody associated with the Potter franchise.”

He also responded to critics who have said he should be more grateful to Rowling since she wrote the Harry Potter books. “Obviously Harry Potter would not have happened without her, so nothing in my life would have probably happened the way it is without that person,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that you owe the things you truly believe to someone else for your entire life.”

Last month, Rowling said she wouldn’t forgive the stars who had spoken out against her, who include Radcliffe. She wrote, “Celebs who cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors can save their apologies for traumatised detransitioners and vulnerable women reliant on single sex spaces.”

The Atlantic asked Radcliffe for his thoughts on that, but he simply replied, “I will continue to support the rights of all LGBTQ people, and have no further comment than that.”

In 2020, Radcliffe wrote in his Trevor Project essay, “I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now. 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.”

Since 2018, Rowling has approved of or has made repeated transphobic comments, sparking public ire. Rolling Stone recently described the author as “one of the hardest-working transphobes online” and referred to Rowling’s 2022 novel, The Ink Black Heart, in which a character is persecuted for transphobia.

Earlier this year, transgender journalist and reality TV personality India Willoughby reported Rowling to police for misgendering her. Rowling responded in a series of posts on social media, writing, “In my view, India is a classic example of the male narcissist who lives in a state of perpetual rage that he can’t compel women to take him at his own valuation.” 

From Rolling Stone.