Daniel Radcliffe is speaking out after J.K. Rowling’s controversial gender comments

Daniel Radcliffe is voicing his support for the LGBTQIA+ community, just days after J.K. Rowling spurred a wave of controversy with a series of comments about gender identity.

The “Harry Potter” star posted the comments in an open letter shared on June 8, during which he directly addressed the fact that Rowling seemed to define women exclusively as “people who menstruate.”

“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people,” Rowling tweeted on June 6 when sharing a headline that featured the descriptor. “Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

That statement spurned backlash from celebrities and Twitter users alike, some of whom called the author’s words “harmful” and “dangerous,” to transgender and nonbinary people who may have a gender identity separate from whether or not they menstruate.

Rowling then shared a series of subsequent tweets in which she argued that the concept is sex was important to the “lived reality of women globally.”

“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,” she wrote.

Radcliffe’s message, which was published by the Trevor Project, a non-profit dedicated to youth suicide prevention within the LGBTQIA+ community, grappled with the response to Rowling’s words while ensuring fans there was no “in-fighting” between himself and the “Harry Potter” creator.

“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,” Radcliffe wrote. “While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, 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, I feel compelled to say something at this moment.”

The 30-year-old went on to say definitively that “transgender women are women,” adding that “any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people” as well as the expertise of healthcare professionals.

He also noted that he is still working to become a better supporter of LGBTQIA+ communities, suggesting that readers explore the Trevor Project’s guide to being an ally for transgender and nonbinary individuals. Finally, he issued an apology to “Harry Potter” fans everywhere.

“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,” Radcliffe 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,” he added, noting that he fully supports readers identifying “Harry Potter” characters as LGTBQIA+. “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.”

If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s coverage of Pride Month, including our story on how to celebrate despite many parades being canceled this year.

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