Celebrities & Fans Respond to J.K. Rowling's Comments on Gender Identity

Last month #ShutUpJKRowling began trending as thousands of people online began reacting to the Harry Potter author’s Twitter thread and 3,700-word essay about the transgender community. Despite claiming to “know and love trans people,” the writer continues to invalidate trans and non-binary people by asserting that only women menstruate, and that prescribed hormone medication is similar to conversion therapy

Pretty much the entirety of the Twitter universe responded negatively to this, including celebrities, the cast of Rowling’s film adaptations, and many of the franchise’s devoted fans. Here’s a complete roundup of their thoughts and feelings regarding Rowling’s recent controversy that you need to read ASAP.

Cast

Daniel Radcliffe

The face of the Harry Potter film series, who has contributed and worked with The Trevor Project for the last decade, was one of the first to respond with an official statement. “While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken...I feel compelled to say something at this moment,” Radcliffe wrote. “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.” Radcliffe continued assuring readers that their connection to the book, and how they feel about the gender or sexual identities of those in the book, is sacred and should not be tarnished by Rowling’s words.

Emma Watson

Miss Hermoine Granger herself, a long-time supporter of the intersectional feminist movement, went to Twitter in response to Rowling’s statements. “Trans people are who they say they are," Watson said to her 29 million followers. “And [they] deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” She then went on to list a few organizations that support the LGTBQ+ community which she donates to, urging her followers to do the same if possible. 

Rupert Grint

Grint told the UK’s Sunday Times that he agrees with his Harry Potter castmates and stands with the Transgender community. “Trans women are women. Trans men are men,” Grint says. “We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.” 

Eddie Redmayne

Redmayne, star of the spin-off series Fantastic Beasts as well as The Danish Girl (a film loosely based on the transgender Artist Lili Elbe), describes his role in the movement as one that is ongoing and changes when provided education. “Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” he told Variety. “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.”

Bonnie Wright

Wright, known for her role as Ginny Weasely, went to Twitter in support of LGBTQ+ fans. “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.” 

Celebs

Jonathan Van Ness

JVN, who came out as non-binary last summer, expressed disapproval of Rowling in a quote-tweet, saying “Trans women are women. Trans Black people & trans non-Black people are discriminated against every single day. They’re dying. We’re fighting for Black people & trans people and you’re doing this?” He didn’t forget what’s important here, either, and made sure to link the Homeless Black Women’s trans fund in a reply tweet as well. 

Munroe Bergdorf

Bergdorf, an English transgender model and activist, did not hesitate to create a Twitter thread regarding her thoughts towards Rowling. “J.K. Rowling is not a scientist. She is not a doctor. She is not an expert on gender. She is not a supporter of our community,” she began. “If you want to know what is best for trans people. Listen to trans people. More specifically, listen to black trans women who are navigating covid19, racism and transphobia...black trans women are fighting for our lives. Trans kids are at home scared and navigating unsupportive environments and the government are debating our civil rights. J.K. Rowling, you are not helping us.” 

Billy Eichner

The star of Billy on the Street and the 2019 adaptation of The Lion King is someone who is known to post in support of marginalized communities to social media. On June 11 he tweeted “If you’re someone getting satisfaction out of publicly denouncing trans or non binary people then there is something else going on in your life and you need to see a therapist.” In a separate tweet, Eichner made sure to include a mantra to live by: “Life is short. Let people be who they are. It doesn’t concern you!”

Fans

Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron

Popular fansites Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron issued a joint statement regarding Rowling’s comments. They state that they stand with Harry Potter fans during this time, “Although it is difficult to speak out against someone whose work we have so long admired, it would be wrong not to use our platforms to counteract the harm she has caused. Our stance is firm: Transgender women are women. Transgender men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. Intersex people exist and should not be forced to live in the binary.”

Gabrielle Bellot

Bellot, a writer for Lit Hub with pieces in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and more, expressed her feelings towards Rowling as a transgender woman and fan. “Time and time again, I’ve become accustomed to having to defend my womanhood when public figures declare that transgender women are not 'real' women,” she writes. “That this is the issue she has chosen to focus on in the wake of international protests against anti-Blackness and police brutality is all the more absurdly tone-deaf, suggesting her fanatical obsession with trans people.”

It’s clear that those who graduated from Hogwarts learned from the best, and know that Harry Potter’s story is one of love and acceptance. Maybe we can all read the books and pretend that Harry wrote them instead from now on.