Harry Potter himself has a message for certified TERF J.K. Rowling: "Transgender women are women."
The Harry Potter franchise might've made some well-rounded points about race and government, but author J.K. Rowling's views are known to be horrifically outdated when it comes to the transgender community.
By now, Potterheads who spend a lot of time on Twitter know that Rowling can be classified as a TERF: a trans-exclusionary radical feminist. She's proudly publicized her absolutist view of sex, which coming from her especially, is a colossal embarassment; if you can hypothesize a world where goblins, merpeople, house elves, and animagi exist, why is a transgender person such a difficult concept to grasp?
But this week, Rowling doubled-down on her TERF bulls--t in a heavy-handed tweet: "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." People are rightfully fed-up, suggesting we all just pretend Daniel Radcliffe penned one of the best-selling book series of all time. It sounds silly, but Radcliffe sure is tempting us to think that way.
Last night, The Trevor Project—a nonprofit for LGBT+ youth—published an essay by Radcliffe in which he responded to Rowling's nonsense: "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," 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."
He continued: "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. I really hope that you don't entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you...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." Excuse me while I shed a tear.
Radcliffe isn't the only Harry Potter star to have spoken in favor of trans rights in the midst of Rowling's tomfoolery. Emma Watson has advocated for trans rights in the past, while Katie Leung—who played Cho Chang in the Harry Potter films—tweeted a useful thread of resources to help Black trans people. (We should also talk more about how Rowling named the one East Asian character in the books Cho Chang of all names, but we don't have time to unpack that today.)
Rowling might be one of the most infamous TERFs in pop culture today, and Harry Potter isn't perfect, but it's managed to age incredibly well in the past two decades. Until there's a real-life charm to avada kedava Rowling's transphobia, we can all just tell our kids Radcliffe wrote the books and call it a day.
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