What Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and other Harry Potter stars have said about trans rights

Harry Potter actors Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson superimposed next to author JK Rowling

Earlier this week, Harry Potter author JK Rowling suggested she won’t ‘forgive’ Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, after both previously expressed support for trans people.

In just a few short years, Rowling has gone from almost-universally beloved children’s author to one of the most controversial figures in the UK, and her recent statement about Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson is just the latest in a long line of divisive comments and tweets she has made about trans people and their rights.

In a thread on X/Twitter on 10 April, Rowling wrote that she was “bloody angry” following the release of the Cass report, which made a series of recommendations in relation to restructuring the way trans youth receive healthcare in the UK.

“I read Cass this morning and my anger’s been mounting all day. Kids have been irreversibly harmed, and thousands are complicit, not just medics, but the celebrity mouthpieces, unquestioning media and cynical corporations,” she claimed.

After one follower demanded Radcliffe and Watson give her a “very public apology, safe in the knowledge that [Rowling] will forgive them,” the author responded: “Not safe, I’m afraid.”

She went on to say: “Celebs who cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors can save their apologies for traumatised detransitioners and vulnerable women reliant on single-sex spaces.”

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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.

But what have Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson – and the rest of the cast of the Harry Potter films – actually said about trans rights? Let’s find out.

Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter

Daniel Radcliffe and JK Rowling
Daniel Radcliffe has declared that “trans women are women”. (Getty)

Daniel Radcliffe played the titular boy wizard himself, and wasted little time in publicly coming out to defend trans people after Rowling’s essay was published.

In 2020, the actor and long-time queer ally wrote a blog for LGBTQ+ charity The Trevor Project. “Transgender women are women,” he clearly stated.

“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

Emma Watson wears a white t-shirt that reads 'trans rights are human rights'
Emma Watson demonstrated her support for trans people before and after the JK Rowling controversy erupted.(Twitter/@emmawatson)

Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, 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 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

Rupert Grint in a black turtleneck against a green backdrop for Knock at the Cabin
Rupert Grint has said he “firmly stands” with the trans community. (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Rupert Grint 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

Harry Potter actor Bonnie Wright in an orange dress against a blue background
Bonnie Wright told trans people “I see and love you”. (Getty)

Bonnie Wright, who played Ron’s young sister, 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 smiling in a black jumper in front of a Warner Brothers logo
Matthew Lewis said everyone is “entitled to be whoever they want to be”. (Gerardo Mora/Getty)

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.”

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 and JK Rowling
Evanna Lynch has praised JK Rowling for “amplifying the voices of detransitioners”. (Getty)

Evanna Lynch publicly 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 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 2023, 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

Actor Chris Rankin at the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
Chris Rankin told trans people: “You’re wonderful and deserve to be treated as such.” (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty)

Like fellow trans rights champion Daniel Radcliffe, 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 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.”

Rankin’s tweet can’t be embedded here as he’s since made his Twitter/X account private.

Katie Leung – Cho Chang

Katie Leung Attends The World Premiere Of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Held At The Odeon Leicester Square, London.
Katie Leung made a point of sharing resources to trans-inclusive projects in June 2020. (John Phillips/UK Press via Getty)

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 wrote, before promptly generating a Twitter thread featuring various petitions, fundraisers and other websites in support of trans people.

Leung’s X account no longer exists: she has left the platform.

Eddie Redmayne – Newt Scamander

Eddie Redmaybe wears a white button-up shirt with a light brown jacket as he poses for the camera at an event
Eddie Redmayne disagrees with Rowling’s comments. (Getty)

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, 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

Helena Bonham Carter in a black dress at a BFI preview of ITV drama Nolly
Helena Bonham Carter has called abuse of JK Rowling “horrendous.” (Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

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

Ralph Fiennes attends "The Menu" New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on November 14, 2022 in New York City.
Ralph Fiennes “can’t understand the vitriol directed” towards Rowling. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

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’.”

Miriam Margoyles – Professor Sprout

Actor Miriam Margoyles wears a green shirt with while spots on it while her hands cover her chest over her heart
Miriam Margoyles said a conversation with a trans actor helped her realise the power of using they/them pronouns to “make someone happy and give them a sense of themselves”. (Getty)

As you might imagine, outspoken lesbian actress Miriam Margoyles hasn’t held back from sharing her views.

Initially, in 2020, she distanced herself from JK Rowling’s “conservative” views about trans people, urging people not to be “fascist” about gender.

In an interview with The Times, Margolyes said of Rowling: “I know what has happened… She has a rather conservative view of transgender people. I don’t think I do.”

Speaking about anti-trans rhetoric, she added: “I can’t make it out. It’s a matter of personal happiness for people and I think that’s what you should concentrate on. If you seriously want to become a woman you should be allowed to. You can’t be fascist about it. I think it’s confusing.”

Despite regularly reaffirming her support for trans people, in April 2022, Margolyes defended JK Rowling over what she called “misplaced” criticism the writer has faced for her “gender-critical” views. Saying she “admires” Rowling as a “human being”, Margoyles offered to mediate between the author and Emma Watson.

Most recently, in March 2024, she said: “I worry about Harry Potter fans. They should be over that by now. You know, I mean, it was 25 years ago and it’s for children. I think it’s for children, but they get stuck in it.”

So, as you can see – it’s not just Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson who have spoken out about trans rights: most of the main Harry Potter cast have. We’ll update this article whenever more of the cast speak out.