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Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe Explained Why He Spoke Out Against J.K. Rowling's Trans Views

"I don't think I would've been able to look myself in the mirror had I not said anything."

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It’s been over 20 years since the first Harry Potter movie hit theaters, turning Daniel Radcliffe into a lifelong household name. Since finishing the franchise, he’s used his fame to promote offbeat projects, star in interesting indie films, shill for good causes, and generally be a good guy. Therefore, it wasn’t a big surprise when Radcliffe spoke out against J.K. Rowling’s trans views, but now, the actor is sharing why, exactly, he felt compelled to do so.

After hinting about her opinion for months, Rowling began tweeting her trans-exclusionary social viewpoints in 2020. At the time, many of the stars involved in the Harry Potter franchise spoke against her beliefs. Radcliffe made it clear that Rowling’s words didn’t represent his own feelings. He wrote an entire essay, addressed as an open letter to the trans community, and posted it on the website for The Trevor Project, a mental health organization for LGBTQ+ youth. In the letter, Radcliffe refuted Rowling, writing in part, “Transgender women are women. 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.”

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All this occurred during the lockdowns in the U.S. and the U.K., when no one, Radcliffe included, was really making public appearances. Fast-forward to 2022: While promoting his role as “Weird Al” Yankovic in the movie Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Radcliffe said he felt hurt and betrayed by Rowling’s statements, and he felt a responsibility to his fans to speak up. “The reason I felt very, very much as though I needed to say something when I did was because, particularly since finishing Potter, I’ve met so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter on that,” he told IndieWire.

“Seeing them hurt ... I wanted them to know that not everybody in the franchise felt that way,” he said. “It was really important as I’ve worked with the Trevor Project for more than 10 years, and so I don’t think I would’ve been able to look myself in the mirror had I not said anything.”

Radcliffe will next be seen in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, which starts streaming on Roku on November 4, 2022.