J.K. Rowling defends her anti-trans comments as Eddie Redmayne condemns them

J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling has posted an essay defending her recent anti-trans remarks on Twitter.
(Neil Hall / EPA-EFE/REX)

You-Know-Who is back — again.

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling defended her history of anti-trans comments in a new essay published on her personal website Wednesday. Titled “J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues,” the post was preceded with a warning that it “contains inappropriate language for children.”

Her piece comes amid a backlash for her latest anti-trans tweets, which have been condemned by Wizarding World actors Daniel Radcliffe and Eddie Redmayne. Without directly mentioning Rowling or the latest controversy, “Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson also weighed in Wednesday, tweeting her support for the trans community.

After Rowling recounted how she first became interested in trans issues as well as her history of Twitter actions that have sparked outcry, she explained she had “five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism” that made her feel it was imperative she speak up.

Daniel Radcliffe, who played the titular boy wizard in all eight “Harry Potter” films, has responded to J.K. Rowling’s tweets widely condemned as transphobic.

June 9, 2020


“We’re living through the most misogynistic period I’ve experienced,” wrote Rowling. She then lumped President Donald Trump and his history of sexual misconduct allegations, incels (men who blame women for rejecting them as sexual partners) and their calls for violence against women, and transgender activists and allies who have called her a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) together as if they were all a similar threat against women.

To be clear, there is no evidence that transgender people are a threat to anyone. Instead, studies have shown they face alarmingly high rates of harassment and violence.

Rowling then revealed that her first marriage was violent and that she is a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

“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,” Rowling wrote.

She explained that because of her history, she believes “the majority of trans-identified people ... pose zero threat to others” and that “trans people need and deserve protection.”

‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling is called anti-transgender for her tweets sparked by a headline that included the phrase ‘people who menstruate.’

June 7, 2020

But despite Rowling’s insistence that she wanted a nuanced discussion on the topic after levying a number of problematic claims, ultimately her concerns seemed to boil down to one about bathrooms.


Among Rowling’s claims was that affirming anybody other than cisgender people (those whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth) as “women” would somehow lead to them being unsafe in places like public restrooms and changing rooms.

There is no evidence that transgender people using the restrooms that align with their gender identity puts anybody else in danger. Studies instead show that transgender people often report experiencing harassment, assault and being denied access when attempting to use public restrooms.

Actor Redmayne, who portrays magizoologist Newt Scamander in the “Fantastic Beast” films, spoke out about Rowling’s recent tweets on Wednesday in a statement to Variety in which he said he “disagree[d] with Jo’s comments.”

“Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid,” Redmayne said in the statement. “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 was nominated for a lead acting Oscar for his portrayal of transgender painter Lili Elbe in the 2015 film “The Danish Girl.”

Watson, who portrayed Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” films, tweeted her solidarity with 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 wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “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.”