“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” Redmayne said in a statement provided to Variety. “This is an ongoing process.”
“As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand,” he continued. “I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. 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.”
Rowling, the creator of “Harry Potter” and its “Fantastic Beasts” spinoff series, posted a series of tweets on Saturday arguing that discussion of gender identity invalidates biological sex.
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth,” Rowling wrote. “The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women — ie, to male violence — ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences — is a nonsense.”
Queer activists and organizations such as GLAAD, as well as fans of the series, denounced Rowling’s comments, noting that they denied the lived consequences of trans people’s experiences.
In addition to his work as Newt Scamander in “Fantastic Beasts,” Redmayne earned an Oscar nomination for his work in “The Danish Girl.” He played Lili Elbe, a Danish transgender woman who was among the early recipients of sex reassignment surgery.
On Tuesday, Daniel Radcliffe, who starred as Potter in the film series, also criticized Rowling’s remarks in an essay posted to the website of the Trevor Project, a non-profit dedicated to crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ people. He noted that nearly 80% of transgender and non-binary youth are discriminated against due to their gender identity.
“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe wrote. “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.”