Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, has penned a response to author J.K. Rowling's recent controversial tweets on gender identity, apologising to Harry Potter fans who feel she's "tarnished" the franchise for them.
Over the weekend Rowling waded into perhaps her biggest controversy yet when she called out the use of the phrase "people who menstruate" by sharing an op-ed article with that wording on Twitter.
After receiving backlash for the tweet, Rowling doubled down on her stance and pushed back against repeated accusations of transphobia – accusations she's also been faced with in the past.
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Now, the actor who played her "boy wizard" Harry Potter in eight smash hit films over 10 years has spoken out.
In a post published on the website of LGBTQ youth charity The Trevor Project, Radcliffe opened by saying that "certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as infighting between J.K. Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what's important right now."
"While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honoured 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."
Radcliffe then outlined discrimination faced by transgender and nonbinary youth, encouraging others to join him in learning how to be a better ally to those communities. "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.
While Radcliffe insisted his statement should not be portrayed as "infighting" between he and the author of the Harry Potter books, he ended with a bold move that may not sit well with Rowling: Apologising to fans of the franchise who feel her recent comments have "tainted" Harry Potter for them.
"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. I really hope that you don't entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you," he wrote.
"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, nonbinary, 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."
Harry Potter fans today praised Radcliffe for the classy response:
Rowling faced a similar backlash in December last year when she responded to a ruling which said workforce employees could be sacked if they say that biological sex cannot be changed.
It came after British think tank researcher Maya Forstater lost her job when she said "men cannot change into women" on social media.
Rowling offered her support to Forstater on Twitter.
She wrote: "Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who'll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that [biological] sex is real?"
Her tweet sparked a series of angry responses, with the phrase "JK Rowling is a TERF" trending on Twitter.
TERF is an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
Rowling's history of controversy over transgender issues dates back several years – in 2017 she was called out for liking transphobic tweets and following accounts that tweeted transphobic views.
The following year, she liked a tweet from a political campaigner who was working to stop trans women from being included on the British Labour Party's all-women shortlists, calling them "men in dresses".
At the time, Rowling's spokesperson said that the author had "a clumsy, middle-aged moment" and had "favourited" the tweet by "holding her phone incorrectly".