“The reason I was felt very, very much as though I needed to say something when I did was because, particularly since finishing Potter, I’ve met so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter on that,” Radcliffe, 33, said during an interview with IndieWire that was published on Tuesday, November 1.
The England native explained that seeing how “hurt” the trans community was by the 57-year-old author’s remarks made him realize how “important” it was for them to understand “not everybody in the franchise felt that way.”
The backlash against Rowling first began in June 2020 after she posted a series of comments via Twitter that argued gender identity negates biological sex.
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” the author wrote at the time. “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.”
Rowling has since doubled down on her stance in the years following her initial statement.
Radcliffe, who has worked closely with The Trevor Project — a nonprofit organization that focuses on suicide prevention in the LGBTQIA+ community — published his own letter in opposition to Rowling’s comments.
“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe said in his 2020 rebuttal. “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.”
He added, “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the Harry Potter 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.”
On Tuesday, the Lost City star shared that he would have felt an immense amount of guilt had he not been vocal against the Silkworm author’s anti-trans stance.
“It was really important as I’ve worked with the Trevor Project for more than 10 years, and so I don’t think I would’ve been able to look myself in the mirror had I not said anything,” he explained to IndieWire. “But it’s not mine to guess what’s going on in someone else’s head.”
The Lost in London actor’s recent comments come just days after Ralph Fiennes — who portrayed Voldemort in the fantasy franchise — defended Rowling in an interview with the New York Times. At the time, the Official Secrets star called “the verbal abuse” directed at Cormoran Strike author “disgusting” and “appalling.”
“I mean, I can understand a viewpoint that might be angry at what she says about women. But it’s not some obscene, über-right-wing fascist,” he said. “It’s just a woman saying, ‘I’m a woman and I feel I’m a woman and I want to be able to say that I’m a woman.’ And I understand where she’s coming from. Even though I’m not a woman.”
Other Harry Potter stars, including Tom Felton (who played Draco Malfoy), however, have stood in solidarity with Radcliffe.
“I’m pro-choice, pro-discussion, pro-human rights across the board and pro-love. And anything that is not those things, I don’t really have much time for,” the Flash alum, 35, told The Independent in October. “It is also a reminder that as much as Jo is the founder of [these] stories, she wasn’t part of the filmmaking process as much as some people might think. I think I only recall seeing her once or twice on set.”
“Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” the Little Women actress, 32, wrote via Twitter at the time. “I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”
Watson concluded her statement by revealing she had donated to Mermaids, a British charity and advocacy organization that supports gender variant and transgender youth.