Daniel Radcliffe has told a group of young people that adults worried about children changing gender have a ‘slightly condescending but well-meaning attitude of like, well, people are young and like… that is a huge decision’.
Yes, Daniel, it is a huge decision, and it is one that we should not be putting in front of children. Never before have children been told that they can choose whether to grow up to be a woman or a man. They can’t, of course. Human beings are male or female, a truth determined not by fantasies of the mind but the facts of biology.
Radcliffe’s comments appeared in a video he featured in produced by the Trevor Project. This California-based organisation was founded in 1998 with a mission, ‘to end suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people.’ A worthy aim, certainly, but – judging by the 20 minute film that features Radcliffe – it believes the best way to do that is to affirm whatever a child might say.
Radcliffe was speaking to a group of six youngsters who identify as transgender or non-binary. The conversation was a fascinating – but deeply troubling – insight into their thinking. This is what one of the young people, Dayley ‘she/her’, said:
‘I learned from out of the cradle that I was a boy. I should like blue; I should like sports; I should be manly; I should like superheroes. And I just never associated myself with those things. And we are told that we’re not old enough to know this yet. Like, I mean I’m only 11 years old.’Dayley (Sharing Space – Episode 1: Daniel Radcliffe, The Trevor Project)
Tragically, it seems that Dayley has overlooked a truly progressive and liberating alternative explanation – boys can be boys without liking any of those things. Pre-pubescent children can pass relatively easy as the opposite sex and, from the film clip at least, Daley does resemble an 11-year-old girl. But what does the future hold for Daley?
An older youth introduced as ‘Deity The Why (she/they)’ explained that:
‘For me, I have finally like tapped into this part of my mind when it was like, you always knew you were a girl and you’ve tried so hard to be this feminine being that you know you are while still identifying as something that you aren’t. And the moment that I like came to that realisation, I was like, “I can’t do this anymore.” And a week later I started hormones.’Deity The Why (Sharing Space – Episode 1: Daniel Radcliffe, The Trevor Project)
Radcliffe’s response? ‘Wow! That’s amazing.’
This is not a world in which transgender-identified children can be challenged about anything, and whatever they say must be affirmed without question. When a child of the opposite sex to Daley and Deity The Why talked about wearing a chest binder for the first time – a ‘transformative experience’ apparently – there was no warning about the associated health risks. Instead, Radcliffe was told that it was the job of these young people to educate those who came with ‘their perceptions and their predisposed biases.’
My perception comes from first hand. Twelve years ago, I thought I was some kind of woman and I transitioned. I took hormones – though as an NHS patient it took rather longer than a week between the asking and the getting. I experienced also the ‘gender euphoria’ that these children talked about in the film. But eventually the truth hit me, dreams are not reality and human beings cannot change sex. The children in this film are being cruelly misled.
Not that Radcliffe seems to care. He sat there oblivious when two youngsters talked about first coming out as gay. Could their transitions be a response to internalised homophobia? Who knows? The question was never asked. Instead, Radcliffe announced that, ‘obviously there are some people in the world who are just not trying to engage with this conversation in good faith.’
Was that a dig at JK Rowling perhaps? Rowling not only created the magical world of Harry Potter – which put Radcliffe where he is today – she also understands the reality of life. Sex matters and biology matters; they are not social constructs and they were around millions of years before we existed.
But it is not just the six youngsters around the table with Radcliffe who are at risk of building their lives on a fantasy that can never deliver what it promises. When reality dawns, the impact on them may be catastrophic. For an organisation that supposedly cares about the mental health of young people, the Trevor Project’s thinking is unfathomable. But, for the time being at least, it remains a supposedly credible organisation supported by celebrities including Kim Kardashian and George Takei. Its videos are slickly presented and professionally packaged, and this episode has already been viewed thousands of times – many of those no doubt by impressionable youngsters. Parents everywhere need to watch it also. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Debbie Hayton is a teacher and journalist.
* This article was first published by The Spectator on 14 April 2023: Why Daniel Radcliffe is wrong about children changing gender.
3 replies on “Why Daniel Radcliffe is wrong about children changing gender”
Such a depressing conversation. Do they know that life exists outside their tiny bubble? Radcliffe exposes his intellectual limitations showing he’s the last person to be guiding this group.
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I think what’s happened is that we are a generation who are looking for approbation. If it’s from total strangers then in some ways it’s even more important. Perhaps this is missing from our nearest and dearest but I suspect it’s a direct result of the internet. By allowing young people unlimited access to the world’s opinions I think we have damaged them hugely. Whatever they feel is lacking in family support they can readily find from online strangers who pretend to care instead of working to strengthen the relationships that really matter.
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The poor fool. How embarrassing. He may never wake up and realise how embarrassing he is. This is such a cringe-worthy display of virtue signalling. If one of these kids said they knew they were a bird and were glad they were finally booked in to have their arms cut off and replaced with wings, he’d grin his wide-eyed grin and say, “That’s amazing!”