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Eddie Redmayne joins Daniel Radcliffe, ‘disagrees’ with J.K. Rowling’s transgender remarks

Less than two days after Daniel Radcliffe issued an apology to members of the LGBTQ2 community for a series of controversial tweets posted by J.K. Rowling last weekend, Fantastic Beasts star Eddie Redmayne has also spoken out against the British novelist.

“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,” the actor said in a statement provided to Variety on Wednesday.

“I disagree with Jo’s comments,” Redmayne said, referring to the writer, whose first name is Joanne. “Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid,” said the 38-year-old.

Redmayne was referring to Rowling’s tweets about biological sex and gender identity last Saturday, which supporters of the trans community have called both “offensive” and “dismissive, among other things.

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Redmayne continued: “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.”

READ MORE: Daniel Radcliffe responds to J.K. Rowling’s remarks on transgender people

Rowling, 54, fired off on the social media platform after bridling at the headline of an opinion piece published by Devex, which reads: “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”

“People who menstruate’?” the Gloucestershire-born author tweeted in response. “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

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As a result of her public grievances, the Harry Potter mastermind became the subject of major backlash — specifically from the trans community — with many social media users pointing out that people aren’t required to menstruate in order to be considered a woman, or vice-versa.

According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, sex is based on biological attributes such as physical and physiological features, including chromosomes and reproductive organs, while gender “refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, men and gender-diverse people.”

“Ah yes, J.K. Rowling proving once again that she is transphobic and dismissive of trans people,” tweeted one user in response.

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READ MORE: France elects its first transgender mayor: ‘They voted for my program’

Not only does Redmayne star as Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter spinoff film series Fantastic Beasts — which was inspired by Rowling’s 2001 book of the same name — but he played a transgender woman in 2015’s The Danish Girl and earned an Academy Award for his portrayal.

Similar to how Radcliffe did on Monday, Redmayne revealed that he’s been trying to “constantly educate” himself on how to be a good ally to the transgender community.

“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” he said. “This is an ongoing process.”

‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling faces backlash over tweets criticized as transphobic
‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling faces backlash over tweets criticized as transphobic

Following the widespread criticism aimed towards her, Rowling tried to explain to her fans that she never intended to offend the trans community. In followup Twitter posts, however, she continued to repeat that biological “sex is real.”

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“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” she wrote shortly after her initial tweet. “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.”

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Rowling continued: “I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.”

“My life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so,” she concluded in another tweet.

British author J.K. Rowling defending herself on Twitter after facing major backlash by making “transphobic” comments. June 6, 2020.
British author J.K. Rowling defending herself on Twitter after facing major backlash by making “transphobic” comments. June 6, 2020. J.K. Rowling / Twitter

Rowling’s characterization of biological sex versus gender resulted in further backlash, however.

“Sex and gender are not the same thing,” replied one Twitter user. “Trans women face misogyny. The only erasure I see here is trans fem erasure.”

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“Sex isn’t the same as gender, it’s not hard to understand,” tweeted another.

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Though Radcliffe acknowledged that Rowling had essentially helped launch his career by creating the Harry Potter series and character, he said that he felt “compelled” to address her comments in the statement, as for the last decade, he has been actively involved with The Trevor Project, a U.S.-based suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ2 youth.

“To all the people who now feel that their experience of the (Harry Potter) books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you,” Radcliffe, 30, wrote in his brief statement published on The Trevor Project‘s website on Monday.

“I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you,” he added.

Radcliffe starred as the titular character in all eight film adaptations of Rowling’s world-renowned Harry Potter novels between 2001 and 2011.

Redmayne made his official debut in the “Wizarding World” in 2016 upon the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 

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He also appeared in its 2018 sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and is set to star in an additional three installments — with the next slated for a 2021 release.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca