Cynthia Nixon Says J.K. Rowling's Tweets Were "Really Painful" for Transgender Son

Cynthia Nixon, whose son Samuel is transgender, spoke about J.K. Rowling’s recent tweets during an interview with The Independent.

By Elyse Dupre Sep 14, 2020 3:29 PMTags
Cynthia Nixon, J. K. RowlingVivien Killilea/Getty Images for New York Magazine, Karwai Tang/WireImage

Cynthia Nixon is speaking out about J.K. Rowling.

Just a few months after the Harry Potter author received backlash for her series of tweets about the transgender community, the Sex and the City alum, whose son Samuel is transgender, addressed the comments during an interview with The Independent

"It was really painful for him because so much of his childhood was tied up with Harry Potter," Nixon said for a piece published Sept. 14. "We're a Harry Potter family. The books seem to be about championing people who are different, so for her to select this one group of people who are obviously different and sort of deny their existence, it's just… it's really baffling. I know she feels like she's standing up for feminism, but I don't get it."   

Although, it may have surprised some readers that, at the end of the article, the writer noted Nixon was in the middle of a Harry Potter marathon.

"Max has a friend of his here right now who has never seen any of the films, so we are actually watching all of them," the 54-year-old actress said, referencing her youngest child. "We're halfway through number six." 

When asked if she or Samuel felt any discomfort watching the movies following Rowling's tweets, Nixon looked back at Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe's response to Rowling's posts.

 "The thing that he tried to impart to people was that if you as a queer person or as a non-queer person have found a home in these stories, please don't let this take that away from you," she said. "These are still your stories." 

Katie Leung Seemingly Responds to J.K. Rowling's Transphobic Tweets

Rowling has received backlash for several comments she's made about transgender people over the past year. In December 2019, for instance, Rowling faced criticism after she showed her support for Maya Forstater—a woman whose employment was not renewed after she made offensive comments about the transgender community and whose views were described by a court as "not worthy of respect in a democratic society."

Rowling then faced criticism again in June 2020 for her tweets regarding a DevEx article titled "Opinion: Creating a More Equal Post-COVID-19 World for People who Menstruate." 

"'People who menustruate.' I'm sure there used to be a word for those people," she wrote in one of her tweets at the time. "Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?" 

She later added, "If sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction. 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 isn't hate to speak the truth." 

Rowling then shared several more posts. 

 "The idea that women like me, who've been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they're vulnerable in the same way as women - ie, to male violence - 'hate' trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences - is a nonsense," she tweeted, later adding, "I respect every trans person's right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I'd march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it's hateful to say so." 

Watch: Daniel Radcliffe Reacts to J.K. Rowling's Controversy

Then in July, Rowling received backlash once again for a new series of tweets. Earlier that month, Twitter user @manaxium shared a post that claimed "hormone prescriptions are the new antidepressants."

"Yes they are sometimes necessary and lifesaving, but they should be a last resort - not the first option," @manaxium's post had continued. "Pure laziness for those who would rather medicate than put in the time and effort to heal people's minds." 

@TrinerScot then called out Rowling and claimed she had liked the post. "Who had money on JK Rowling pivoting to supporting those who call people who take mental health medication 'lazy'?" @TrinerScot tweeted. "I take daily medication to function, this sentiment is beyond offensive, it is actively harmful to millions." 

Rowling issued a response over a series of 11 tweets, noting she was "not going to ignore this." 

"When you lie about what I believe about mental health medication and when you misrepresent the views of a trans woman for whom I feel nothing but admiration and solidarity, you cross a line," she wrote near the beginning of the thread. "I've written and spoken about my own mental health challenges, which include OCD, depression and anxiety. I did so recently in my essay 'TERF Wars.' I've taken antidepressants in the past and they helped me." 

A few of her tweets also read, "Many health professionals are concerned that young people struggling with their mental health are being shunted towards hormones and surgery when this may not be in their best interests. Many, myself included, believe we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people, who are being set on a lifelong path of medicalization that may result in the loss of their fertility and/or full sexual function."

Nixon wasn't the first to speak out about Rowling. Several other celebrities, including Eddie Redmayne and Jonathan Van Ness, have, as well. 

To read Nixon's full interview, head on over to The Independent.

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