Eddie Redmayne Talks About J.K. Rowling’s Anti-Trans Tweets, While J.K. Issues A Response To The Hate She Got
J.K. Rowling continues to have a whole lot to say about trans people on Twitter. And her thoughts have more than one former cast member from the Harry Potter universe publicly calling her out. Personally, I’m waiting for Hagrid to hop on Instagram Live and say the words, “Yer a transphobe, Joanne.” But that hasn’t happened yet. So far we’ve heard from Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, and now we’re hearing what Eddie Redmayne thinks about it.
Nobody asked for J.K.’s definition of what a woman is, but she gave it once again over the weekend. J.K. was so upset by an op-ed that referred to people who menstruate as, well, people who menstruate. Because some women don’t, and some trans people/non-binary people do. She also swore she was “empathetic” to trans people, but really needed everyone to know that *women* menstruate. Daniel released a statement via The Trevor Project, saying that transgender women are women and that we need to do more to support the trans community. Eddie Redmayne, who played Ministry of Magic wizard Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts series, spoke to Variety with his thoughts.
Eddie says that he’s been trying to “constantly educate” himself on trans rights and respect for the community. But with that being said, there’s no question as to which side of this conversation Eddie is placing his support:
“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.”
Eddie’s comment about working with the trans community is most likely a direct reference to his performance in 2015’s The Danish Girl, where he played trans woman Lili Elbe. Eddie himself is not a trans person, which of course was a casting decision that had more than a few trans activists rolling their eyes (to say the least). But this is a whole different situation, and the point that Eddie wants to make is that his trans friends are tired of having to answer annoying-ass, intrusive body-based questions like, “BuT dO yOu gEt a PeRiOd oR nOt?”
Joining Eddie in statement-release mode is Evanna Lynch, who played dizzy wizard Luna Lovegood. Evanna’s statement is a little longer, and she covers a bit more ground. Like, Evanna is sad for the trans community to have to constantly read gross stuff on Twitter, but she also sort of jumped to J.K.’s defense, saying everyone should stop bullying J.K. Rowling.
Here are my thoughts. Sending love to all. ❤️💜💗🧡💛💚🤎🖤🤍 pic.twitter.com/P30YHfnzBN
— Evanna Lynch (@Evy_Lynch) June 9, 2020
But J.K. doesn’t need Luna Lovegood wizard-caping for her, because she’s come to her own defense. J.K. released a note on her personal website, in response to all the Twitter hate she’s been getting. Under the headline, “Answers,” J.K. writes about the “toxicity” surrounding the issue of sex and gender. If the question is, “Has J.K. changed her stance on trans women?“, the answer is, “Uh…no, not really.” J.K. claims she’s being harassed by trans people.
“All the time I’ve been researching and learning, accusations and threats from trans activists have been bubbling in my Twitter timeline. This was initially triggered by a ‘like’. When I started taking an interest in gender identity and transgender matters, I began screenshotting comments that interested me, as a way of reminding myself what I might want to research later. On one occasion, I absent-mindedly ‘liked’ instead of screenshotting. That single ‘like’ was deemed evidence of wrongthink, and a persistent low level of harassment began.
Months later, I compounded my accidental ‘like’ crime by following Magdalen Burns on Twitter. Magdalen was an immensely brave young feminist and lesbian who was dying of an aggressive brain tumour. I followed her because I wanted to contact her directly, which I succeeded in doing. However, as Magdalen was a great believer in the importance of biological sex, and didn’t believe lesbians should be called bigots for not dating trans women with penises, dots were joined in the heads of twitter trans activists, and the level of social media abuse increased.”
J.K. also hates being called a TERF, or trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
“But accusations of TERFery have been sufficient to intimidate many people, institutions and organisations I once admired, who’re cowering before the tactics of the playground. ‘They’ll call us transphobic!’ ‘They’ll say I hate trans people!’ What next, they’ll say you’ve got fleas? Speaking as a biological woman, a lot of people in positions of power really need to grow a pair.”
She adds that she had to speak up about the bullying and harassment she’s received from the trans community because she doesn’t want anyone to cancel her charitable trust. Also, because she’s a former teacher who cares about the effect trans activism will have on the children, she believes in freedom of speech, and she’s concerned about how many women are transitioning in the UK. She ends by saying it’s important for her to stand against trans activism because she’s a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor. Basically, J.K. loves trans people, she’s just worried about them using the wrong bathroom.
“I’m mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces. I believe the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others, but are vulnerable for all the reasons I’ve outlined. Trans people need and deserve protection. Like women, they’re most likely to be killed by sexual partners. Trans women who work in the sex industry, particularly trans women of colour, are at particular risk. Like every other domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor I know, I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men.
So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.”
As about a million people have pointed out before me, it sounds like the issue here isn’t trans people using the bathroom, but creepy hetero dudes who are trying to sneak in and get a toilet peek. Maybe J.K. should direct her fight against those people, and leave the trans community alone. And if she’s really so worried, she could always wave her wand and say, “Bladdera Empticus” and pee at home before she goes out.