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Girls & Women

Daniel Radcliffe Backs Trans Young People After 'Transphobic' Tweets From J. K. Rowling

By Rachel Savage

LONDON, June 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — Actor Daniel Radcliffe has expressed support for transgender rights and apologised to LGBT+ Harry Potter fans for pain caused by tweets on the issue from author J. K. Rowling.

The star of the hit movie series said that while Rowling was "unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken", he felt compelled to speak out after tweets that critics called transphobic, an accusation the author has denied.

"Transgender women are women," said Radcliffe in a statement posted late on Monday on the website of The Trevor Project, a US charity dedicated to preventing suicide among LGBT+ youth.

"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 said.

The actor said he hoped the row over Rowling's tweets would not taint fans' experience of the British author's best-selling books, which were turned into a hugely successful movie franchise starring Radcliffe as the boy wizard.

Rowling was accused of being transphobic last week when she took issue with a headline that referred to "people who menstruate", tweeting, "I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

She strongly denied the accusation, tweeting that she supported trans people but wanted to highlight that "sex is real and has lived consequences".

"I respect every trans person's right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I'd march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans," she tweeted. "At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it's hateful to say so."

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A spokesperson for Rowling did not respond to a request for comment on Radcliffe's statement.

Radcliffe said he had worked with The Trevor Project for the last decade and cited research that found 78% of trans and non-binary young people — those who identify as neither male nor female — said they had faced discrimination.

Radcliffe's comments were praised by LGBT+ people on Twitter.

"In all seriousness, Daniel Radcliffe is saving lives with this statement," Harrison Browne, a trans actor, tweeted. "As a trans person, I used movies and books as an escape from my life and Harry Potter was one of those spaces I found refuge in."

(Reporting by Rachel Savage @rachelmsavage; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)