Eddie Redmayne has joined a growing numbers of actors from the Harry Potter universe to critique J.K. Rowling’s recent anti-trans tweets. The Fantastic Beasts actor addressed the controversy with a statement, in which he wrote, “Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative... “I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid.”
On Saturday Rowling mocked an op-ed titled “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”
“‘People who menstruate,’” Rowling wrote. “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
As critiques began to pour in, Rowling partook in the time-honored tradition of doubling down on a bad take. “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” she wrote in a subsequent Twitter thread. “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... I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”
In his statement, provided to Variety, Redmayne, who played trans painter Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl, wrote, “Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. This is an ongoing process.”
“I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse,” Redmayne added. “They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”
In the days since Rowling’s tweets, various performers from Harry Potter films and theatrical productions have disavowed her comments.
In a statement, Daniel Radcliffe 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.”
Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang in the Harry Potter films, tweeted out a thread of organizations and initiatives that support black trans people.
Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley, tweeted, “My beautiful, brave, strong, trans friends and house of #ChrisNess family. We love you. I can’t say it enough. You’re wonderful, and deserve to be treated as such. Please know that. Be proud of who you are. We are proud of you.”
Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, tweeted her own lengthy statement.
“I am so saddened to see trans people feeling abandoned by the HP community,” Lynch wrote, “so here are my thoughts: I imagine that being trans and learning to accept and love yourself is challenging enough, and we as a society should not be adding to that pain. Feeling like you don’t fit in or aren’g accepted for who you are are the worst, most lonely feelings a human can experience and I won’t be helping to marginalise trans women and men further. I applaud the immense bravery they show in embracing themselves and think we all should listen to their stories, especially as it is Pride Month.”
“I think it’s irresponsible to discuss such a delicate topic over Twitter through fragmented thoughts and I wish Jo wouldn’t,” Lynch added. “That said, as a friend and admirer of Jo I can’t forget what a generous and loving person she is. 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 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.”
And Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermione Granger in the original production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, tweeted a message that began “Dear Jo,” and went on to list a series of notable trans women.
“As I honour mine, and the trans friends in my life,” Dumezweni added. “I’ll defer to THEIR LIVED EXPERIENCES, not their erasure. And these are just the WOMEN! There is Magic in listening. This has stories for millennia. I know You Know All this...with love.”