Stephen Fry reveals his trans friends are ‘deeply upset’ by JK Rowling – and wants the gender row to end

Published: 6:13 p.m. GMT, November 18, 2022 | Updated: 6:56 p.m. GMT, November 18, 2022

Stephen Fry has revealed his transgender and intersex friends are “deeply moved” by Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

The Harry Potter audiobook narrator, 65, added that he would “love to see” the two sides of trans speech stop fighting.

Fry told the Beeb Watch podcast that Ms Rowling is still a “friend”, but added: “I have trans friends and intersex friends who are deeply upset with her.”

Host Roger Bolton then asked him: “Are you saying the two [sides] should stop fighting?

Fry (pictured in London two months ago) made the balanced intervention on a new podcast

Fry said, “I would love to see that. But that’s not possible if each side looks at each other as an enemy, and transgender people just shout ‘TERF’ and feminists just […] appear to undermine the dignity and rights of the trans community.

Rowling has been accused of transphobia for a series of controversial tweets and proud public appearances with authors who proudly labeled themselves “TERFS.”

Potter film franchise stars Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe distanced themselves from her comments, while co-stars Tom Felton and Ralph Fiennes supported her.

Rowling (pictured at the 2017 BAFTAs) courted controversy for her transcribed comments

Rowling (pictured at the 2017 BAFTAs) courted controversy for her transcribed comments

Fry added: ‘I don’t think there is a winner. I know JK Rowling doesn’t want to see trans people bullied, alienated, socially excluded, shamed, guilty, ridiculed, all those things.

‘But I also know […] that there are people who believe that safe feminine spaces and the idea of ​​the difference between sex and gender are very important and that they […] repudiate, with all their might, the kind of [gender theorist] Judith Butler created genre idea and so on. And it’s not an argument that I want to get involved in, because it’s upsetting for both parties.

‘I… would like them both to step aside, and consider it possible for trans people to live full and accepted lives, on their terms, in society, and for women to have all the rights and dignities they demand.’

It comes weeks after Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe sought to reassure trans Potter fans that not everyone who worked on the film series shares Rowling’s beliefs.

Referencing Ms Rowling’s comments, Radcliffe – who said at the time that ‘transgender women are women’ – said he wanted members of the LGBT+ community to know that ‘everyone in the franchise didn’t feel that.”

He added: ‘The reason I really, really felt like I needed to say something when I did is because, especially since Potter ended, I’ve come across so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter about it.

“And so, seeing them hurt that day, I was like, I wanted them to know that not everyone in the franchise felt that way. And that was really important.

Meanwhile, Voldemort actor Ralph Fiennes told The New York Times last month that the treatment of Rowling by some online was “appalling”.

He said: ‘The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling. I mean, I can understand a point of view that might be angry at what she says about women.

‘But [Rowling is] not some obscene far-right fascist.

“It’s just a woman saying, ‘I’m a woman and I feel like I’m a woman and I want to be able to say I’m a woman.’

. Stephen Fry reveals trans friends deeply upset Rowling gender row

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