Daniel Radcliffe explains his 'weird little problems' with the word 'ally' in panel with trans youth

·3 min read

Daniel Radcliffe has long been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights — but he's still hesitant to call himself an ally.

In the first installment of the Trevor Project's Sharing Space series of roundtable conversations with young trans and nonbinary people, the guest moderator and Harry Potter star says he's wary of anyone touting their own allyship.

"I said this to you all earlier, about my weird little problems with the word 'ally,' just because anytime you hear somebody self-refer to themself as an ally, I'm always like, 'I'm suspicious of you,'" Radcliffe admits. "But there is an original meaning to that word, and there [are] some people who embody that very powerfully."

Mateo-Luis, one of the six panelists joining Radcliffe, notes, "Sometimes it takes for someone to really step into what we would consider allyship, for someone to understand what it's like to live in your shoes. Because a lot of times we don't live in anyone else's shoes and we only think about what it's like in ours."

Another panelist, Deity The Why, says, "I think on the flip side of allyism… we as people in this community, we have to often times accept that even with allies, we still have to communicate what makes us feel good and what are boundaries. Like, the first thing a person that calls themselves an ally thinks is that 'Because I believe in you and because I see you the way you want to be seen, I can't do anything else wrong.'"

They add, "You can't be an ally to anyone… if you cannot sit down and acknowledge when you've done something that hurts someone or that can make someone feel less."

Radcliffe has been a longtime supporter of the Trevor Project, whose mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ young people. With Sharing Space, the organization says it is seeking to "provide a much-needed platform for young trans and nonbinary voices to share about their personal journeys and explore what genuine allyship looks like among curious, open-minded adults and allies."

Throughout the first episode (released Friday, on Transgender Day of Visibility), Radcliffe facilitates a candid discussion of topics such as gender euphoria, respecting pronouns, and self-discovery. "We listen to so many people talk about trans youth and hear them talked about so often in the news, but very rarely do we actually hear from these youth directly," the actor said in a statement about the episode. "It was an absolute privilege to get to meet and listen to this incredible group of young people. At the end of the day, if you're going to talk about trans kids, it might be useful to actually listen to trans kids."

Radcliffe's previous work with the Trevor Project includes sharing a statement in June 2020 denouncing Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling's rhetoric around trans issues that she's consistently shared on social media and in published work in recent years.

Watch the first Sharing Space episode above.

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