Cynthia Nixon says J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans remarks were ‘painful’ for her son

Actress Cynthia Nixon
Actress Cynthia Nixon addressed J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments in a new interview.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

J.K. Rowling’s anti-transgender remarks did not sit well with actress Cynthia Nixon’s “‘Harry Potter’ family.”

In a new interview, Nixon opened up about the harmful effect the author’s views have had on her 23-year-old son, Samuel, who is trans and a “Harry Potter” fan.

“It was really painful for him because so much of his childhood was tied up with Harry Potter,” Nixon told the Independent in a story published Monday.

“The books seem to be about championing people who are different, so for her to select this one group of people who are obviously different and sort of deny their existence, it’s just … it’s really baffling. I know she feels like she’s standing up for feminism, but I don’t get it.”

In June, Rowling drew sharp criticism for passing judgment on a Devex op-ed about healthcare inequality that used the phrase “people who menstruate” to be more inclusive. Amid a swift backlash, the English writer doubled down on her tweet, arguing, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.”

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.


Her follow-up tweet was met with more outrage, as well as pro-trans responses from “Harry Potter” actors Katie Leung (Cho Chang), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). In a heartfelt statement for the LGBTQ organization the Trevor Project, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) declared that “Transgender women are women.”

Of Radcliffe’s statement, Nixon said: “The thing that he tried to impart to people was that if you as a queer person or as a non-queer person have found a home in these stories, please don’t let this take that away from you. These are still your stories.”

Rowling defended her tweets again later that month in a lengthy essay that ignited a similar backlash. Several trans activists, including the stars of FX’s “Pose” — a show that centers trans women — also condemned Rowling’s behavior.

The “Sex and the City” alum shared her thoughts on the Rowling controversy while promoting her forthcoming Netflix series, “Ratched,” a prequel to the 1975 film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” that tells the origin story of the nefarious Nurse Ratched (Sarah Paulson). The Ryan Murphy drama stars Nixon as Gwendolyn Briggs, press secretary to the governor of California.

The stars of FX’s “Pose,” Universal Parks, Warner Bros. and Scholastic are among the latest to respond to J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans tweets and follow-up essay.

In real life, Nixon recently ran her own gubernatorial campaign against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was reelected in 2018 and has been leading the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“The underlying story in ‘One Flew’ is that here’s a woman in power over all of these men who are in trouble, and rather than treating them with empathy, she destroys them. It’s hard to remove people’s genders in that plot,” Nixon told the Independent.

“You get vilified, as we saw with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign a few years ago. It’s very hard to be a woman in power.”

“Ratched” debuts Friday on Netflix.