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‘Pose’ stars join growing backlash over J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments

Indya Moore as Angel in "Pose"
Indya Moore as Angel in the pilot of “Pose.”
(JoJo Whilden / FX)

“Dumb,” “harmful” and “not necessary” are just a few of the words the cast and creator of “Pose” used to describe J.K. Rowling’s recent anti-transgender remarks.

The hit FX series’ Indya Moore, Steven Canals, Mj Rodriguez and Dominique Jackson are among the latest to weigh in on the Rowling controversy after the “Harry Potter” author penned a lengthy essay doubling down on insensitive tweets from last week. “Pose” follows the lives of trans women navigating New York City in the 1980s.

“I think she’s speaking from this place of just sheer stupidity,” Moore, who plays Angel in “Pose,” told Variety on Wednesday afternoon. “I mean, it’s just so dumb. She’s not even understanding how much death and violence are behind all of those opinions that she’s sharing on social media right now. Like she’s contributing to so much violence through her airing out her thoughts and ideas and opinions. She’s contributing to a stigma that is continuing to take our lives today.”

“In this moment, her opinion is really harmful and damaging and just not necessary,” added “Pose” showrunner Canals. “The issue is her lack of an acknowledgement or realization that it’s her privilege that allows her to even be able to voice those opinions in the first place. What I would want to say to her, one cis-person to another, is true allyship is knowing when to fall back and to listen to what the community needs from you.”

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

Rodriguez and Jackson, who play Blanca and Elektra, respectively, echoed their colleagues’ sentiments about the harm transphobic rhetoric can cause, citing the recent beating of Iyanna Dior, a Black trans woman attacked earlier this month in Minnesota.

“I just gave up because all I saw was us not having hope. What are we going to do? We’re going to die and people are just going to walk all over us and say, ‘Oh, well, they deserve it because of who they are,’” Jackson told Variety. “But then I realized that our strength is in standing up.”

“It’s really important to distance yourself away from anybody like that,” added Rodriguez. “They’re clearly stuck in a generational gap of an understanding of something. … We’re in a different time and era.”

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Last week, Rowling drew sharp criticism for tweets arguing that, “if sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.” And on Wednesday, she shared a blog post expanding on her “concerns around single-sex spaces.”

Studies have shown that trans people face alarmingly high rates of harassment and violence. There is no evidence that members of the trans community pose a threat to anyone.

Rowling’s tweets and subsequent essay also prompted responses from Warner Bros., which distributes the “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” movies based on her books; Universal Parks, which house the Wizarding World of Harry Potter; and Scholastic Press, which publishes the “Harry Potter” books in the United States.

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.

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Without naming Rowling or addressing the trans community directly, Warner Bros. recently issued a statement regarding its “position on inclusiveness.”

“The events in the last several weeks have firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues,” read the statement provided to The Times on Thursday. “Fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world. We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all.

“We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.”

The reaction from Universal Parks was similarly indirect.

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“Our core values include diversity, inclusion and respect for all our guests, as well as our team members,” a spokesperson said in a statement provided to The Times. “Our theme parks are places where people and families of all types are welcome to enjoy their time together. Beyond that, we have no further comment.”

Stars of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World are speaking out against the “Harry Potter” author’s anti-trans comments, which she explained in a new essay.

A statement from Scholastic was more direct: “J.K. Rowling is one of the world’s most accomplished authors and is known in her writing and philanthropy as a champion of oppressed and vulnerable people.

“We support her right to express her personal views and beliefs. We also fully support the rights of LGBTQIA+ people. As the Scholastic credo states, we believe in the worth and dignity of all individuals, and are opposed to discrimination of any kind.”

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Others who have come out against Rowling’s anti-trans beliefs include “Fantastic Beasts” star Eddie Redmayne, as well as actors Katie Leung, Bonnie Wright, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, who played Cho Chang, Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, respectively, in the “Harry Potter” films.


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