Katherine Waterston said in an interview with The Independent this week that it was “important” for her to show public support for the trans community in the aftermath of J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments last summer. Waterston has a leading role in Rowling’s “Harry Potter” prequel franchise “Fantastic Beasts” and did not want to be grouped in with Rowling’s beliefs simply because she acts in a franchise written by the “Potter” author. Rowling has been accused several times of anti-trans remarks, started last June after she argued in a tweet that discussing gender identity negates biological sex.
Rowling’s statement ignited backlash, including from “Harry Potter” actor Daniel Radcliffe. The star of Rowling’s movie franchise wrote in a letter, “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.”
The backlash (and other Rowling statements like a blog post that listed “five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism”) resulted in Rowling returning her Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award after the foundation’s president spoke out against her. That’s when Waterston took to social media to share an article headlined: “Trans women pose no threat to cis women, but we pose a threat to them if we make them outcasts.”
As noted by The Independent, Waterston also annotated the article and directed her followers to various passages. One such passage stated: “Sorry, you can’t be a feminist if you’re not for everyone’s human rights, notably other women’s human rights.”
When asked by The Independent why she came forward to oppose Rowling’s comments, Waterston responded, “I think because I was associated with a film project…Because I was associated with ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ it felt important to communicate my position. One wondered if they might be grouped in with other people’s views by association.”
Radcliffe and Waterston were joined by Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne, and other actors in the “Harry Potter” film universe in condemning Rowling’s statements. But other actors such as Ralph Fiennes voiced support for the author.
“I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her,” Fiennes told The Telegraph in March about Rowling and the backlash she’s faced over the last year. “I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational. I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing.”
Waterston is currently filming the third “Fantastic Beasts” movie. Warner Bros. has the film on the release calendar for July 15, 2022.