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Harry Potter star Katie Leung responds to JK Rowling controversy by rallying support for Black trans lives

Josh Milton June 7, 2020
Katie Leung (L) has reacted to the firestorm caused by JK Rowling's comments on the trans community. (Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty)

Katie Leung (L) has reacted to the firestorm caused by JK Rowling's comments on the trans community. (Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty)

In the wake of criticism pelting JK Rowling over her comments on trans people this Saturday (June 6), Harry Potter readers reignited the debate over the author’s racial stereotyping in her books and Katie Leung has just given her take.

Cho Chang, a witch who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the series, is a character in Harry Potter that has long ratcheted tension regarding Rowling’s representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people.

Many critics have slammed Rowling’s move to name the only Asian main character in the seven book-long series stretched across 4,224 pages “Cho Chang”.

And on Sunday (June 7), as criticism against Rowling winnowed, Leung – who plays Chang in the film adaptation – tweeted her thoughts on her role’s name.

Kate Leung responds to JK Rowling’s comments on trans people in the best way.

Within the thread, she emphatically rallied for Black trans lives. She shared an array of donation pages for Black LGBT+ organisations and Pride groups as well as petitions calling for British lawmakers to better protest Black trans women.

Leung capped off her thread with a simple but powerful hashtag: “#AsianLivesForBlackLives.”

Katie Leung met with wave of praise for supporting Black trans women.

Stan Twitter absolutely rushed to praise Leung as she ascended to Twitter royalty: “I stan a queen,” one user wrote.

What did JK Rowling say?

With a viral pandemic rampaging the planet and a campaign against police murdering unarmed black civilians raging, Rowling decided to tweet about trans people.

It all began when the writer shared an article in Devex, the media platform for the global development community, with the headline: “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”

Rowling captioned the tweet with a comment that said: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people.

“Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” she followed in a thread.

“If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It doesn’t hate to speak the truth.”

She sought to reassure her 14.5 million followers that she “knows and loves trans people” and claimed that the idea she hates trans people is “nonsense”.

“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them,” wrote the writer.

“I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans,” she capped off the thread.

Her words caused an uproar online – with #TransWomenAreWomen and #TransLivesMatter trending on Twitter in the day after.

A volley of cis women stated their solidarity, while trans community leaders tirelessly decoded Rowling’s words to show, they say, how they’re anti-trans.

Rowling’s actions which have stirred reaction have, in the past, been called “middle-aged moments” by her representatives.

More: Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Katie Leung, Trans

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