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Harry Potter's Dudley Actor Makes It Clear Where He Stands In The Rowling-Instigated Gender Debate

"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling has been under fire for over two years now. The problem started when she posted a tweet mocking an article that used the term "people who menstruate" to be inclusive to trans people. This was followed by a series of tweets that dug the hole deeper, arguing that she does "know and love trans people" but that if the concept of sex is eliminated — something that Rowling seems to think is the goal of the transgender rights movement — then "the lived reality of women globally is erased." She followed this up with a full essay on the topic on her website, which has been seen as transphobic.

In response to Rowling's comments and essay, many of the actors who have worked on films based on her books have spoken out against her stance. Shortly after the comments, Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe wrote a statement on The Trevor Project's website in support of transgender people. "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." Similarly, Hermione Granger actor Emma Watson posted a tweet in support of the trans community, saying, "Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren't who they say they are." Other actors who have worked with Rowling and have spoken out against her include Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), and Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander).

The latest "Harry Potter" actor to join the debate is Harry Melling, who played Dudley Dursley in the movies. Here's what he had to say on the subject.

Harry Melling believes in the right to choose

In an interview with The Independent, Harry Melling gave his feelings on the debate around transgender people that was sparked by J.K. Rowling. The actor emphasized that everybody has the right to choose. "I can only speak for myself, and what I feel, to me, is very simple, which is that transgender women are women and transgender men are men," Melling said. "Every single person has the right to choose who they are and to identify themselves as what's true to themselves. I don't want to join the debate of pointing fingers and saying, 'That's right, that's wrong,' because I don't think I'm the correct spokesperson for that. But I do believe that everybody has the right to choose." While Melling may want to temper his statement by claiming he's not joining the debate, there's little doubt that he's stating a clear opinion in opposition to Rowling's.

Rowling's controversial comments have continued to pile up since her first tweets on the subject. In December 2022, The Independent wrote an editorial denouncing Rowling's attempt to set up a domestic violence shelter for women that excludes trans people. Furthermore, when Twitter user @Sian_L_S posted a tweet supporting Rowling's shelter, Rowling replied cheekily with "Merry Terfmas," referencing the acronym for trans exclusionary radical feminists, something that Rowling is frequently accused of being. So it would seem that Melling's comments came just as the controversy was starting to heat up again.