As the Harry Potter fandom comes to terms with author J.K. Rowling’s tweets about trans women, it’s good to remember that there are still allies in the community, like stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.
What’s the spell to get JK Rowling to stop tweeting anti-trans messages? Deletium Twitaccountus? Many Harry Potter fans were wishing they could cast “Silencio” on JK, 54, after the British author– yet again – made anti-trans statements. Six months after supporting a researcher who was fired over transphobic comments, JK ventured back into TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) territory by responding to an article titled Creating A More Equal Post-COVID-19 World For People Who Menstruate. “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” tweeted JK.
After being criticized for seemingly ignoring the fact that trans men also menstruate, JK continued. “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.” Many were quick to point out in Rowling’s mentions that trans-activists have made a clear distinction between gender and biological sex. JK continued to conflate “sex” and “gender,” prompting a huge backlash online — including from many Harry Potter stars who expressed support to the trans community.
While Harry Potter’s creator may not support trans people, the actor who brought “The Boy Who Lived” to life on the big-screen does. “Transgender women are women,” Daniel Radcliffe said in a statement. “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.”
Emma Watson expressed support for the trans community in October 2018. The socially and politically conscious actress – who gained famed playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films – posted a picture to her Instagram wearing a shirt bearing the slogan “Trans Rights are Human Rights.” She also tagged organizations Mermaids UK (a charity supporting transgender and gender variant children and their families), Gendered Intelligence (an organization about Trans Awareness Training), and the Stonewall UK organization.
Evanna Lynch, the actress who portrayed Luna Lovegood, shared her thoughts in a lengthy Twitter statement on June 9. “I wanted to stay out of commenting on JKR’s tweets because it feels impossible to address this subject on Twitter but I am so saddened to see trans people feeling abandoned by the HP community,” she wrote. She expressed support for trans people, saying “The Harry Potter world/fandom/community is literally made up of millions of people now and I for one will work to make it feel inclusive because trans women are women.” She also urged people not to simply “cancel” JK. “I am sad to see fans reduce Jo to her tweets and seemingly dismiss her incredible philanthropic work and her determination to help humanity. I see that she is still fighting for vulnerable people. I disagree with her opinion that cis-women are the most vulnerable minority in this situation and I think she’s on the wrong side of this debate. But that doesn’t mean she has completely lost her humanity.”
Noma Dumezweni starred as Hermione Granger in the original West End, and Broadway runs of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a move that – surprise! – upset a lot of people who insisted that Hermoine is white. Hermoine’s skin is never established in the book, and JK told The Guardian that Noma’s casting has her “absolute blessing and enthusiasm.” Sadly for JK, Noma couldn’t give her blessing to Rowling’s comments. “As I honour mine, and the trans friends in my life. I’ll defer to THEIR LIVED EXPERIENCES, not their erasure. And these are just the WOMEN! There is Magic in listening.”
Katie Leung, just like a wizard, used a little bit of misdirecting to share her support for the Trans community. After some fans pointed out that JK named the only Asian character “Cho Chang” (as an indication of Rowling being “problematic”), the name start to trend on Twitter. Katie, who played the character in the movies, tweeted, “S, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes.” From there, she linked to a series of links to organizations that support Black trans women.
Jonathan Van Ness
Though Jonathan Van Ness wasn’t cast in any of the Harry Potter movies, the Queer Eye star became part of the Potterverse in May. He took part in a web series in which celebrities took turns reading portions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone aloud. Jonathan read the part of the Sorting Hat, and after JK’s comments, he had to denounce her remarks.
“Trans women are women. Trans Black people & trans non-Black people are discriminated against every single day. They’re dying. We’re fighting for Black people & trans people, and you’re doing this?” he tweeted. “I’m so f-cking mad I read the Sorting Hat.”
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