Harry Potter star Emma Watson has said transgender people "deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned" in response to JK Rowling's controversial comments on the issue.
The actress, who played Hermione Grainger in the hit film series, joins her former co-star Daniel Radcliffe and fellow actor Eddie Redmayne, who appeared in the Fantastic Beasts spin-offs, in publicly disagreeing with the author.
After sparking controversy with a series of tweets taking issue with a headline discussing "people who menstruate", Rowling released a lengthy statement on Wednesday - revealing that one of the reasons she has been so vocal about the issue is previous experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
Image: Daniel Radcliffe and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them star Eddie Redmayne (below) have also publicly disagreed with Rowling
Watson posted a series of tweets shortly afterwards. Warner Bros, the Hollywood studio behind the blockbuster Harry Potter franchise, also responded to the controversy, as did Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley in the films.
Addressing her trans followers, Watson said: "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.
"I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are."
The actress said she donates to the Mermaids charity, which helps transgender children, and the feminist fund Mama Cash, and urged followers to do the same if they can.
Rowling has strongly denied allegations of transphobia, saying she is very much in support of the trans community - but also women.
She said lots of women have been in touch with her to tell their stories of being abused by trans activists.
Posting a 3,600-word statement on the issue, Rowling detailed five reasons she felt the need to speak out - including her interest in "both education and safeguarding" and "freedom of speech".
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.— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) June 10, 2020
If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for you, that love is infinite and there to take without judgment or question. Transwomen are Women. I see and love you, Bonnie x— Bonnie Wright (@thisisbwright) June 10, 2020
Explaining her final reason, she wrote: "I've been in the public eye now for over 20 years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor.
"This isn't because I'm ashamed those things happened to me, but because they're traumatic to revisit and remember. I also feel protective of my daughter from my first marriage. I didn't want to claim sole ownership of a story that belongs to her, too.
"However, a short while ago, I asked her how she'd feel if I were publicly honest about that part of my life and she encouraged me to go ahead.
"I'm mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who've been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces."
In her statement, Rowling also said she was motivated to address transgender issues on social media because of what she sees as an increasingly misogynistic society.
"Back in the 80s, I imagined that my future daughters, should I have any, would have it far better than I ever did, but between the backlash against feminism and a porn-saturated online culture, I believe things have got significantly worse for girls," she said.
In a statement released after Rowling's post, Warner Bros said recent events had "firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues".
It continued: "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 recognise 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."