The Harry Potter franchise has been entertaining audiences for decades, as the Wizarding World continues to expand through theme parks, a hit Broadway play, and David Yates' Fantastic Beasts franchise. The latter set of films star Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, and are written by Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling. Rowling has recently been the center of controversy regarding offensive binary tweets made about sex and transgender women, with Daniel Radcliffe speaking out against her comments. And now Eddie Redmayne has followed suit, despite his continued role in the Fantastic Beasts movie.
A ton of people are speaking out about J.K. Rowling, including those hardcore fans of the Harry Potter franchise that are disappointed with her seemingly transphobic ideas about gender and sex. Daniel Radcliffe recently spoke out in opposition of her tweets, while working with advocacy group The Trevor Project. Eddie Redmayne has also made an official statement in response to Rowling's comments, saying:
Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. 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.
Well, that seems pretty cut and dry. Despite his ongoing working relationship with J.K. Rowling, Eddie Redmayne still used his platform to advocate for transgender rights. Given how many challenges the trans community face on a daily basis, Redmaybe felt the need to respond to J.K. Rowling's comments about sex and transgender women.
Eddie Redmayne's statement to Variety made the actor's feelings on the ongoing controversy clear, as he stands with transgender folks whose identity is so often challenged by cisgender people in power. Redmayne famously received an Oscar nomination for playing a trans woman in The Danish Girl, and now he's seemingly honoring that role and the LGBTQIA+ community by speaking out against J.K. Rowling's comments.
This is the second figure in the Wizarding World to come out against J.K. Rowling's comments and the implication they carry for transgender women in particular. Daniel Radcliffe has worked with The Trevor project throughout his career, and issues his own statement in hopes of validating trans folks out there, as well as Harry Potter fans who feel like their favorite franchise has been tainted. In his words,
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. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.
As of the time of writing, J.K. Rowling is seemingly sticking to her terms, and not apologizing for any pain she could have caused with her controversial tweets. But as more collaborators continue to come to the transgender community's defense, it should be interesting to see if that changes. Gender and sexuality are a spectrum, and there are plenty of people still fighting for inclusion, visibility, and equality.
Eddie Redmaybe is currently expected to play Newt Scamander in the mysterious Fantastic Beasts 3 movie. Production on the threequel was ultimately delayed due to global health concerns, and it's unclear exactly when production will kick up production. But it'll once again see Eddie Redmayne collaborating with J.K. Rowling, despite their clear disagreement.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently set to hit theaters in November of 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.