What Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and other Harry Potter stars have said about trans rights
Anti-trans campaigner Graham Linehan has hit out at Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint because of their support for the trans community – in an unprompted rant in support of JK Rowling.
In an opinion piece in the Mail on Sunday, ahead of the release of former comedy writer Linehan’s new book, he hit out at the three then-very-young actors, whom, he said, Rowling propelled to stardom.
But, in return, they insinuated that their “old mentor was a bigot”, he claimed.
He said the stars “instantly betrayed” Rowling, before calling for the trio to be “remembered as symbols of the most remarkable arrogance, cowardice and ingratitude”.
It’s been more than 12 years since any of the actors appeared in a Potter movie.
Linehan’s comments about Doctor Who star, David Tennant, have seen him dropped by his TV agent, and, in August, he was forced to perform to a tiny crowd outside Holyrood, in Edinburgh, after a venue at the Festival Fringe refused to give him a platform because of his anti-trans views.
Ever since Rowling’s June 2020 tweets and “TERF Wars” essay outlining her “concerns” about trans equality, those attached to the film franchise have offered their own takes on both transgender rights and the backlash against the author.
You may like to watch
Radcliffe and Watson have been vocal in their support for trans people as the series creator alienated many LGBTQ+ lovers of the books and films, while others have been quick to jump to Rowling’s defence.
Here’s everything the cast of Harry Potter have said about trans people, and JK Rowling’s stance on their existence.
Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter
Radcliffe, now 34, wasted little time in publically coming out to defend trans people after Rowling’s essay was published.
The actor and long-time queer ally wrote a blog for LGBTQ+ charity The Trevor Project. “Transgender women are women,” he clearly said.
“Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional healthcare associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo [Rowling] 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 that “not everybody in the franchise felt that way.”
Emma Watson – Hermione Granger
Watson has also vocally – and pointedly – expressed support for trans people.
In a series of tweets in June 2020, Watson said she wanted her transgender followers to know that she “and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are”.
She went on to say: “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, now 33, was praised after she presented a gong at the 2022 BAFTAs, where she remarked: “I’m here for all the witches.”
In 2018, she tweeted a photo of herself wearing a t-shirt bearing the slogan “Trans Rights are Human Rights”, while tagging trans-inclusive organisations Stonewall, Mermaids, All About Trans and Gendered Intelligence.
Rupert Grint – Ron Weasley
Grint, who is now 35, also defended trans people shortly after Rowling’s comments.
“I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers,” he told The Times.
“Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”
Bonnie Wright – Ginny Weasley
Bonnie Wright, who played Ron’s young sister but who is now 32, tweeted a simple but effective statement after Rowling’s essay was published.
“If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for you, that love is infinite and there to take without judgment 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, addressed the controversy by saying he didn’t believe his view on either trans or women’s rights was particularly needed, but that everyone is “entitled to be whoever they want to be”.
Speaking to iNews in 2021, he added: “It’s very emotive and if I was to offer the only position I think reasonable, it’s that we’re talking about exceptionally marginalised groups.
“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 have to sit this one out because both sides of this discussion have had enough of people who look like me telling them what to do.”
Now 34, the actor added: “If I am gonna jump off that fence, I’ll make damn sure 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
Evanna Lynch publically distanced herself from Rowling shortly after the author published her essay, while also taking aim at “toxic” Twitter debates by 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, now 32, 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.”
However, in February, Lynch appeared to row back on that criticism, 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”.
She did, however, go on to praise Rowling for “amplifying the voices of detransitioners”.
Lynch also said: “I just felt 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 of the film franchise’s stars to speak up in support of the transgender community.
The actor, who turns 40 next month and who played Ron’s older brother Percy, 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, appeared to make her feelings clear in June 2020 when she tweeted links to various trans-supportive resources.
“So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? OK, here goes,” Leung, now 36, wrote, 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 following Rowling’s outburst.
Already a highly successful actor before playing Newt Scamander in the spin-off film series Fantastic Beasts, and therefore not needing to be grateful to Rowling for anything, he 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 transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl, despite being a cisgender man, also condemned abuse directed towards Rowling for her views.
In an interview with the Daily Mail just months after Rowling published her “TERF Wars”, he said the online abuse she faced was “absolutely disgusting”, while also making clear such abuse towards trans people was “equally disgusting”.
Helena Bonham Carter – Bellatrix Lestrange
Another already-successful star had a somewhat different take on the controversy.
Helena Bonham Carter hasn’t explicitly expressed a view on the trans community, but has condemned those who have criticised Rowling.
The star of The Crown and Russell T Davies’ Nolly remained silent 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 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 essay – Bonham Carter added: “She’s allowed her opinion, particularly if she’s suffered abuse.”
Rowling wasn’t expressing a view “aggressively,” the star continued, “she’s just saying something out of her own experience… [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 about trans equality.
In 2021, the Oscar nominee told The Telegraph that he couldn’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,” the star of Schindler’s List said. “I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her.”
He reiterated his comments a year ago in an interview with The New York Times, where he described the Potter series, in which he played Harry’s arch-nemesis, as one of “empowerment, about young children finding themselves as human beings”, adding: “It’s about how you become a better, stronger, more morally centred human being.”
But he 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’.”
MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.