Rupert Grint is revealing why he decided to stand up against J.K. Rowling’s comments about gender and sex, which many deemed transphobic.
In June, Grint released a statement in support of the trans community after Rowling voiced her opinions in multiple online posts that conflated sex with gender and defended ideas suggesting that changing one’s biological sex threatens her own gender identity.
Grint explained in an Esquire interview published Friday that he still is “hugely grateful” for the acclaimed author, though he can still disagree with her views.
“I am hugely grateful (for) everything that she’s done. I think that she’s extremely talented, and I mean, clearly, her works are genius,” he said. “But yeah, I think also you can have huge respect for someone and still disagree with things like that.”
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Grint added that he felt he had a responsibility to speak out in support of the trans community — a “valuable group that I think need standing up for.”
“I think to stay silent would have spoke. Sometimes, silence is even louder. I felt like I had to because I think it was important to,” he said.
Acknowledging that he isn’t “an authority on the subject,” the actor says his decision to speak up came “out of kindness and just respecting people.”
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Rowling’s anti-trans stance became public in 2019 when she showed support for Maya Forstater, a researcher who had lost her job at a think tank for stating that people cannot change her biological stance. Rowling made a similar stir in criticizing a headline on the website devex.com. The op-ed piece included the phrase “people who menstruate” in an effort to be more inclusive.
“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she tweeted.
Months later, Rowling doubled down on her controversial opinions in a personal essay published to her website in June. In response, “Harry Potter” stars including Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson publicly criticized Rowling’s comments, which were deemed transphobic.
“I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment,” Grint said in a statement at the time to the U.K.’s The Sunday Times.
Radcliffe reiterated that “transgender woman are women,” in an essay for LGBTQ non-profit organization The Trevor Project, and Watson tweeted that trans people “deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.”
Original story:J.K. Rowling sparks controversy for transgender comments; GLAAD responds
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff