What Harry Potter stars have said about JK Rowling trans debate

Author Rowling has sparked controversy with some of her comments

British writer J.K Rowling poses on the red carpet after arriving to attend the World Premiere of the film
JK Rowling has sparked debate with her views. (AFP via Getty Images)

JK Rowling has faced a backlash from some Harry Potter stars over her views on transgender issues.

The author was accused of being transphobic after she posted a message on Twitter (now X) in 2020 objecting to the use of the word "people” to describe those who menstruate, instead of the word "women". She later denied she was transphobic and released a blog post defending her position, but has still been criticised over that comment and other remarks.

Things ramped up this week when she appeared to have a pop at Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, after she commented on a recent review that raised some concerns about gender services for minors.

One person posted a message on social media saying: “Just waiting for Dan and Emma to give you a very public apology … safe in the knowledge that you will forgive them.”

And Rowling replied: “Not safe, I’m afraid. Celebs who cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors can save their apologies for traumatised detransitioners and vulnerable women reliant on single sex spaces.”

So what have the Harry Potter stars said in the past?

Daniel Radcliffe

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 8: Daniel Radcliffe poses at the opening night of Stephen Sondheim's
Daniel Radcliffe previously addressed JK Rowling's comments. (WireImage)

Radcliffe – who played Harry in the movies about the boy wizard – spoke out after Rowling’s Twitter post in 2020.

In a statement shared through The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention nonprofit organisation for LGBTQ+ young people, he said: “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.”

“It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm,” said the actor, who said he was “still learning how to be a better ally”.

Addressing Potter fans, he said: “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07:  Actors Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe with author JK Rowling (second left) as they attend the 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' film premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square on July 7, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Jon Furniss/WireImage)
JK Rowling with Harry Potter actors Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe. (WireImage)

"If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life - then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred.

"And in my opinion nobody can touch that." "It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much," he said.

In 2022, Radcliffe told IndieWire why he had spoken out, explaining that he had "met so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter on that".

"And so seeing them hurt on that day I was like, I wanted them to know that not everybody in the franchise felt that way," he said.

Emma Watson

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 07: Emma Watson attends the Soho House Awards at DUMBO House on September 07, 2023 in New York City.  (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Emma Watson said 'trans people are who they say they are'. (Getty Images)

Watson, who starred as Hermione Granger, made her feelings clear in a post on Twitter, telling fans in 2020: “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.

“I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”

She also said that she donated to Mermaids, an organisation supporting trans and gender diverse children, young people and families, and Mama Cash, which support "the pioneering and innovative activism of girls, women, trans and intersex people around the world".

Rupert Grint

Grint, better known as Ron Weasley in the films, echoed his castmates’ feelings when he said in an interview that “trans women are women”.

The Times quoted him as saying: “I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers.

Actor Rupert Grint arrives at the premiere of
Rupert Grint said he stood with the trans community. (AP)

“Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment."

Read more: Harry Potter

Watch: JK Rowling would go to jail over her anti-trans views