Eddie Redmayne Speaks Out Against J.K. Rowling's Transphobic Comments
By Rachel McRady
Eddie Redmayne is making his position clear when it comes to J.K. Rowling's recent tweets regarding the transgender community. The 38-year-old British actor stars as Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beast series, a Harry Potter spin-off film franchise that was penned by Rowling herself. Redmayne also famously portrayed a transgender woman in the 2015 film The Danish Girl, for which he earned an Oscar nomination.
“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 to Variety. “This is an ongoing process.”
The actor, who is set to appear in all five of the Fantastic Beast films, went on to specifically address Rowling and her controversial tweets.
“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.”
The controversy began when Rowling first mocked an article talking about "people who menstruate," joking that there "used to be a word" for those people. After being slammed on social media by members and allies of the transgender community, the British author then clarified her position, tweeting, "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 has not backed down from her point of view, which many consider to be transphobic. Redmayne is not the only star who has worked with Rowling who has spoken out on this topic. Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, released a statement via The Trevor Project earlier this week.
"While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment," Radcliffe wrote. "Transgender women are women," he continued. "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."
Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the Potter films, also released a statement on Tuesday on Twitter.
"I won't be helping to marginalize trans women and men further," she wrote. "I think it's irresponsible to discuss such a delicate topic over Twitter through fragmented thoughts and I wish Jo wouldn't."
Lynch went on to call Rowling "a generous and loving person," adding, "I am sad to see fans reduce Jo to her tweets and seemingly dismiss her incredible philanthropic work and her determination to help humanity."
The actress urged her fans to "break the cycle of bullying and shaming others," seemingly referencing the death of Caroline Flack, who took her own life in February following lots of online bullying.
"I understand that JKR's views are very hurtful to many, and that as a cis-woman, I can't fully fathom that particular pain and that it's easier for someone like me to ask people to be kind," she added.
Lynch concluded by noting that she plans to become a "more intersectional activist."