Here’s everything the Harry Potter cast have said about JK Rowling and trans rights
As Hogwarts Legacy hits shelves, the controversy over Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s views on transgender people shows no sign of abating – despite the game’s already-divisive inclusion of a trans character providing the wizarding world’s first explicit trans representation.
Ever since Rowling’s now-infamous June 2020 tweets and ‘TERF Wars’ essay outlining her ‘concerns’ over trans equality, those attached to the franchise have offered their own takes on both trans rights and the backlash against the writer.
Stars including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have been vocal in their support for trans people as the series creator alienates many LGBTQ+ lovers of the franchise, while others have been quick to jump to Rowling’s defence as she faces backlash from trans people and allies.
Here’s everything the cast of Harry Potter have said about Rowling and trans people so far…
Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe wasted little time in publicly coming out to defend trans people after JK Rowling’s essay was published in 2020.
The actor and long-time queer ally wrote a blog for LGBTQ+ charity The Trevor Project in which he clearly stated: “Transgender women are women.”
Radcliffe continued: “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.”
Radcliffe doubled down on his comments two years later, telling Indiewire he had “met so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter on that”.
Seeing people hurt following Rowling’s words made Radcliffe want people to know “not everybody in the franchise felt that way”, he said.
Emma Watson – Hermione Granger
Emma Watson, who played Hogwarts student Hermione Granger in the film series, has also vocally – and pointedly – expressed support for trans people.
In a series of tweets shared in June 2020, Watson said she wanted her trans followers to know that she “and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are”.
“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.”
Watson was praised after she presented an award at the 2022 BAFTA Awards, pointedly remarking “I’m here for all the witches” after taking to the stage.
Watson had previously been vocal in support of trans rights too.
In 2018, she tweeted a photo of herself wearing a white t-shirt that had “Trans Rights are Human Rights” printed on it, while tagging trans-inclusive organisations Stonewall, Mermaids, All About Trans and Gendered Intelligence.
Rupert Grint – Ron Weasley
The third of the Harry Potter films’ trio of leads, Rupert Grint, also defended trans people shortly after Rowling’s 2020 comments.
“I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers,” the actor, who played Hogwarts student Ron Weasley, said in a statement to The Times.
“Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgement.”
Bonnie Wright – Ginny Weasley
Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny, the youngest Weasley sibling, tweeted a simple but effective statement after Rowling’s essay was punlished.
“If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for your that live is infinite and there to take without judgement or question”, she wrote. “Transwomen [sic] are Women. I see and love you”.
Matthew Lewis – Neville Longbottom
Matthew Lewis, who played hapless Gryffindor student Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films, addressed the controversy over JK Rowling and trans rights by saying he didn’t believe his view on either trans or women’s rights was needed as a “white man”, but that everyone is “entitled to be whoever they want to be”.
“It’s very emotive,” he told iNews in January 2021. “and if I was to offer the only position that I think is reasonable, it’s that we’re talking about exceptionally marginalised groups.”
Lewis went on: “I just don’t know if this conversation needs yet another opinion from a white man telling either a) the trans community or b) women what to think, what to feel, what to say.
“No matter what I think, and what my opinion is, I think I just have to sit this one out because I think that both sides of this discussion have had enough of people who look like me telling them what to do.”
He added: “I’ve made sure that if I am gonna jump off that fence, I’ll make damn sure that I know as much as I feel like I can.
“Maybe that’s a mealy-mouthed, wishy-washy answer, but I feel like we could do with a bit more thinking and less talking sometimes.”
Evanna Lynch – Luna Lovegood
Shortly after the publication of Rowling’s ‘TERF Wars’ essay in June 2020, Evanna Lynch publicly distanced herself from the author while also taking aim at “toxic” Twitter debates saying: “I think she’s on the wrong side of this debate. But that doesn’t mean she has completely lost her humanity.”
In a message to fans, Lynch wrote: “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’t 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.”
In February 2023, Lynch appeared to row back on her criticism of Rowling, saying that she was “very naive” when she made the original comments.
“I didn’t even know there were two sides” she told The Daily Telegraph. “I had a view of, like, good and bad.”
Explaining that she has “compassion for both sides of the argument,” she once again reiterated that she didn’t want to “add” to trans people’s “pain”.
However, Lynch then went on to praise Rowling for “amplifying the voices of detransitioners”.
Lynch also expressed that she would “always defend [Rowling’s] character,” stating: “I just felt that her character has always been to advocate for the most vulnerable members of society. The problem is that there’s a disagreement over who’s the most vulnerable.
“I do wish people would just give her more grace and listen to her.”
Chris Rankin – Percy Weasley
Chris Rankin was one of the first Harry Potter stars to speak up in support of the transgender community following Rowling’s June 2020 essay.
The actor, who played Percy Weasley, one of Ron and Ginny’s older brothers, said: “My beautiful, brave, strong, trans friends and house of #ChrisNess [referring to a queer youth network he founded] 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.”
Katie Leung – Cho Chang
Katie Leung, who played Ravenclaw student and Harry’s short-lived love interest Cho Chang in the series, appeared to make her feelings on the JK Rowling controversy clear in June 2020 when she publicly tweeted links to various trans-supportive resources.
“So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay here goes…,” Leung tweeted, before promptly generating a Twitter thread featuring various petitions, fundraisers, and other websites in support of trans people.
Eddie Redmayne – Newt Scamander
Eddie Redmayne said he needed to make it “absolutely clear” where he stood after Rowling’s June 2020 comments.
The actor, who played Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter spin-off film series Fantastic Beasts, told Variety: “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 disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. 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.
“They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”
Redmayne, who has been criticised himself in the past for playing trans artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl despite being a cisgender man, has also condemned abuse directed towards Rowling because of her views.
In a September 2020 with the Daily Mail, he said the online abuse towards the author was “absolutely disgusting”, while also making clear such abuse towards trans people was “equally disgusting”.
Helena Bonham Carter – Bellatrix Lestrange
Helena Bonham Carter hasn’t explicitly expressed a view on the trans community, but the actor has publicly condemned those who have criticised Rowling.
The star of The Crown and Russell T Davies’ Nolly remained publicly silent on the controversy until November 2022, when she told The Times she believed the reaction to Rowling’s comments was a “load of b*****ks” and “horrendous”.
Bonham Carter, who played villainous Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films, said things had been “taken to the extreme, the judgementalism of people”.
Seemingly referring to Rowling’s position as a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor – something the author touched upon in her June 2020 essay – Bonham Carter added: “She’s allowed her opinion, particularly is she’s suffered abuse.”
Bonham Carter went on to say Rowling wasn’t expressing a view “aggressively, she’s just saying something out of her own experience” and that everybody “forms their opinions from that trauma”, which “you have to respect”.
Ralph Fiennes – Lord Voldemort
Like Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes’ comments were more directly about Rowling rather than giving direct comment as to their view on trans equality.
In March 2021, Fiennes told The Telegraph he “can’t understand” the “level of hatred” directed towards the author.
“I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing,” Fiennes said.
“I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her,” he added, describing the response to her repeated comments on trans rights as “irrational”.
The actor, who played Harry Potter‘s main villain. Lord Voldemort, in the films, reiterated his comments in an October 2022 interview with The New York Times, where he described the Harry Potter series as one of “empowerment, about young children finding themselves as human beings”.
“It’s about how you become a better, stronger, more morally centred human being.”
But Fiennes went on to say the “verbal abuse directed at [JK Rowling] is disgusting, it’s appalling. I mean, I can understand a viewpoint that might be angry at what she says about women.
“But it’s not some obscene, uber-right-wing fascist. It’s just a woman saying, ‘I’m a woman and I feel like I’m a woman and I want to be able to say that I’m a woman.'”
He said he understood where Rowling was coming from, even though he himself is “not a woman”.
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