Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has spoken out over author JK Rowling's comments about transgender people and said he hopes her remarks have not "tarnished or diminished" fans' experience of her beloved books.
Actor Radcliffe, who became a worldwide star after playing schoolboy wizard Harry in the blockbuster adaptations of the novels, was responding to a series of tweets Rowling posted over the weekend after which critics accused her of being transphobic.
She took issue with the phrasing of a headline for an opinion article about healthcare equality, titled Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
"'People who menstruate'. I'm sure there used to be a word for those people," she tweeted on Saturday. "Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"
The tweet sparked a debate, with many criticising the writer for appearing to define a woman as someone who has a menstrual period, and accused her of making "anti-trans comments" - which she strongly denied as "nonsense".
Radcliffe waded into the controversy on Monday in a blog post for the LGBT suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project, writing that while Rowling "is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken... as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment".
He said this was not about "in-fighting between JK Rowling and myself", adding: "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."
The 30-year-old then cited statistics from The Trevor Project, claiming 78% of transgender and non-binary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity.
Image: Rowling and Radcliffe in 2001. The actor said the author 'is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken' but he felt 'compelled to say something'
He said: "It's clear that we need to do more to support transgender and non-binary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm."
Radcliffe also addressed fans on social media who said they could no longer enjoy the Harry Potter series due to their disagreement with Rowling.
"To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you," he said.
"I really hope that you don't entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.
"If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, non-binary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life - then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred.
"And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much."
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Rowling posted a series of tweets on Sunday defending her earlier statement.
She tweeted: "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.
"The idea that women like me, who've been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they're vulnerable in the same way as women - ie, to male violence - 'hate' trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences - is a nonsense.
"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."
It is not the first time Rowling has been accused of being transphobic.
In December she voiced her support for a researcher who was sacked after tweeting that transgender people cannot change their biological sex.