Fantastic Beasts star Eddie Redmayne criticizes J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments
Redmayne, who plays Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter prequel franchise, has issued a statement criticizing Rowling's comments about transgender people.
“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” Redmayne said in a statement provided EW (and first reported by Variety). “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. 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 previously played a trans character in the biographical drama The Danish Girl, portraying Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery. He also costarred in the film Jupiter Ascending, directed by the Wachowskis, who are both transgender women.
Rowling has been criticized for tweets equating gender and biological sex. The author mocked an article titled "Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate" by writing, "People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"
Replying to the criticism, Rowling has written, "If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. 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 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."
Previously, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe replied to the controversy with a statement of his own. "I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now," Radcliffe wrote. "While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment. 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."