As Eddie Redmayne and more cast members of the Harry Potter film series are coming forward to speak out against creator J.K. Rowling’s tweets on transgender people, Rowling herself has broke her silence in an essay on her website.
In an exclusive statement with Variety Magazine, Redmayne, who plays Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts films, explained:
“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. As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand,” he continued. “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 played a transgender woman in The Danish Girl and experienced backlash for the fact that he, a cisgender male, played the role that should been played by a transgender female.
Emma Watson, who has been outspoken on feminist issues, expressed her support of transgender people while not mentioning Rowling in a series of tweets from her Twitter account:
Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermonie Granger in the inaugural stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, tweeted a list of transgender women in her response to Rowling.
2. As I honour mine, and the trans friends in my life. 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. Nx #TransRightsAreHumanRights pic.twitter.com/dvkS14rIVL
— Noma (@MissDumezweni) June 7, 2020
Concurrently, Rowling emerged from her radio silence four days after her tweets with an essay explaining:
So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.
The full essay can be found on Rowling’s website.
The cast of FX’s hit show, Pose, shared their reaction of Rowling’s tweets and essay with Variety.
Indya Moore (Angel):
“I think she’s speaking from this place of just sheer stupidity. I mean, it’s just so dumb. She’s not even understanding how much death and violence are behind all of those opinions that she’s sharing on social media right now. Like she’s contributing to so much violence through her airing out her thoughts and ideas and opinions. She’s contributing to a stigma that is continuing to take our lives today.”
Pose Co-Creator, Steven Canals:
“In this moment, her opinion is really harmful and damaging and just not necessary. I think the issue is her lack of an acknowledgement or realization that it’s her privilege that allows her to even be able to voice those opinions in the first place. What I would want to say to her, one cis-person to another, is true allyship is knowing when to fall back and to listen to what the community needs from you. It’s being an active listener.”
MJ Rodriguez (Blanca):
“It’s really important to distance yourself away from anybody like that. They’re clearly stuck in a generational gap of an understanding of something…We’re in a different time and era.”
The Human Rights Campaign issued a response on its Twitter page.
We see JK Rowling is at it again.
If your feminism isn’t trans-inclusive, then it’s not feminism. pic.twitter.com/o0exrVTikZ
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 10, 2020
Alphonso David, president of the HRC, also issued a response:
Trans women are women. @jk_rowling‘s attempt to hide behind the mantle of trans-exclusive feminism hurts both the trans & feminist communities. If she won’t listen to trans advocates about the harm she is causing, she does not deserve her platform. https://t.co/z6reOUpZQG pic.twitter.com/2CAXxLlnJN
— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) June 10, 2020
Warner Brothers Pictures also responded to Rowling’s comments:
“The events in the last several weeks have firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues. Warner Bros.’ position on inclusiveness is well established, and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world. We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all. We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.”
As well, a representative for Universal Pictures, whose parks have Harry Potter attractions, commented:
“Our core values include diversity, inclusion and respect for all our guests, as well as our team members. Our theme parks are places where people and families of all types are welcome to enjoy their time together. Beyond that, we have no further comment.”
Meanwhile, Scholastic, the company that publishes the Harry Potter book series has not issued a comment.
Sources: Variety Magazine, Indiewire, Emma Watson Official Twitter Page, Evanna Lynch Official Twitter, Katie Leung Official Twitter, J.K. Rowling Official Website, Human Rights Campaign Twitter Page, Human Rights Campaign, The Hollywood Reporter, Noma Dumezweni Official Twitter, Rolling Stone,