By Maureen Lee Lenker
June 10, 2020 at 10:42 PM EDT
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The actors behind numerous Harry Potter adaptations have much to say about author J.K. Rowling's controversial remarks about gender issues.

On Wednesday, Rowling posted a lengthy essay on her personal website, doubling down on a stance that many have called anti-trans. In the essay, Rowling said she is a survivor of sexual assault, but wrapped that revelation into her explanation of her position on trans issues, which boils down to her belief that biological sex should be considered separate from gender.

Since Rowling's first tweets on the subject over the weekend, which were themselves an extension of a point she made on her social media account in December, many of the actors who have appeared in Harry Potter projects over the years have made their own statements, promoting and celebrating trans rights and people.

Daniel Radcliffe, who rose to fame playing Harry Potter, was one of the first to address the issue with a lengthy statement he released via The Trevor Project. "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," he wrote, before speaking directly to fans of the series impacted by Rowling's remarks. "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."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Soon, many others followed suit. On Tuesday, actress Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in multiple films, shared a statement on her Twitter account. Lynch wrote, "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. I applaud the immense bravery they show in embracing themselves and think we all should listen to their stories."

However, Lynch also cautioned against having a conversation about the issue on Twitter, saying, "I think it's irresponsible to discuss such a delicate topic over Twitter through fragmented thoughts and I wish Jo wouldn't." Lynch spoke out against cancel culture and online abuse, while still disagreeing with Rowling's views. "I disagree with her opinion that cis-women are the most vulnerable minority in this situation and I think she's on the wrong side of this debate," she wrote. "But that doesn't mean she has completely lost her humanity."

On Wednesday, Eddie Redmayne, who stars in the Fantastic Beasts films as Newt Scamander, released his own statement on the situation. "Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” Redmayne said in the statement provided to 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."

Emma Watson, another member of the core cast from a young age as witch Hermione Granger, turned to Twitter to express her support for the trans community. "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 tweeted, before adding a second tweet reading, "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."

Bonnie Wright, the actress who portrayed Ginny Weasley, also spoke out on Wednesday via Twitter. "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," she wrote.

Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermione Granger in the first run of both the West End and Broadway productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Childresponded to Rowling's initial tweets on Sunday with a list of names of transgender activists and individuals. "1. Dear Jo - Marsha P. Johnson. Sylvia Rivera. Indya Moore. Angelica Ross. Tamara Adrián. Rebecca Root. Isis King. Laverne Cox. Caitlyn Jenner. Lily and Lana Wachowski. Trace Lysette. Andreja Pejic. Tracey Norman. Janet Mock. APRIL ASHLEY... etc, etc, Wikipedia..," she wrote, before adding. "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."

Chris Rankin, who played obsequious Percy Weasley in the films, also tweeted his support for the trans community over the weekend, writing, "My beautiful, brave, strong, trans friends and house of #ChrisNess 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."

Another cast member, Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang, put the spotlight on organizations that support Black trans women. "So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes...(thread)," she began, before posting a thread to various funds supporting black trans people and the Black Lives Matter movement."

Even U.S. Harry Potter editor Arthur Levine took Rowling to task for her remarks, commenting directly on her tweets. "I know you and I know you aren’t speaking out of hate. But I do have a different point of view about this. Gender can be ‘real’ without being established irrevocably at birth by one’s chromosomes or one’s genitals. The brain is also an organ that determines gender," he said. "Once someone transitions to make their physical body reflect their gender identity, then the “sex” they then express is real. Trans women ARE real women, in their minds and in their bodies. Medical intervention on one person does not invalidate any who don’t need it.”

UPDATE: Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley in the Potter films, also responded to Rowling's remarks, becoming the last of the three central cast members to do so. On Friday, Grint issued a statement to the UK's The Times, saying, “I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment."

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