Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has come under fire for espousing anti-trans views on social media before, but the author’s recent Twitter tirade against the trans community is widely being seen as the final straw for Wizarding World fans. In response to Rowling’s transphobic rhetoric, various HP universe stars have spoken out to denounce the writer’s words and Fantastic Beasts star Eddie Redmayne is the latest to do so.
Releasing a statement through Variety, the actor – who plays Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter prequel films, which are scripted by Rowling – said that he wanted to make “absolutely clear” that he disagrees with the author’s comments and called for the “constant questioning” of transgender people’s identities to stop.
“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” Redmayne said. “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. 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.”
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Redmayne’s statements echo the franchise’s other leading man, Daniel Radcliffe’s own response to the Rowling controversy. The Potter star denounced her tweets, saying: “It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.” He also expressed sadness that some are losing faith in the Harry Potter stories, encouraging fans to keep hold of the positive messages they get from them. “In my opinion,” he said, “nobody can touch that.”
As well as starring in Fantastic Beasts, Redmayne is also known for his Oscar-nominated portrayal of real-life pioneering transwoman Lili Elbe in 2014’s The Danish Girl. Though the biopic was praised for both the actor’s performance and for being sensitively told, Redmayne’s casting over an actual trans actress did generate controversy.
Eddie Redmayne will return to the Wizarding World for Fantastic Beasts 3, which is currently set for a November 2021 release, though a delay seems possible.