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Callum Scott Howells: JK Rowling ‘stoking the fire’ as ‘trans rights attacked’

Callum Scott Howells (Lewis Vorn/PA)
Callum Scott Howells (Lewis Vorn/PA)

Callum Scott Howells has said Harry Potter author JK Rowling “isn’t helping” with “trans rights being attacked”.

The Welsh actor, who won multiple awards for his role as Colin Morris-Jones in Russell T Davies’s hit drama It’s A Sin, said the fight for LGBT+ rights is “terrifying”.

The 23-year-old told Attitude magazine: “With trans rights being attacked, JK Rowling isn’t helping. She’s stoking the fire and giving the Tories permission to do it.

Callum Scott Howells
Callum Scott Howells on the cover of Attitude magazine (Lewis Vorn/PA)

“It’s terrifying. I’m scared for this community and the people within it. We have to stick together and look after each other.

“If we don’t have each other, who do we have?”

Rowling has attracted criticism from some groups for her views on gender identity, previously tweeting she has received “so many death threats I could paper the house with them”.

She has said she was partly motivated to speak out about transgender issues because of her experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault. She has strongly denied accusations of transphobia.

Howells also spoke out about Qatar hosting the World Cup – a country where homosexuality is illegal and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished by up to seven years in prison.

Callum Scott Howells
Callum Scott Howells in Attitude magazine (Lewis Vorn/PA)

He said: “I don’t know why they’re hosting it in that country. It’s very clear the reason it’s being hosted there is because of the money.

“That’s really selfish, capitalist, shameful and disappointing. I’m really proud Wales has qualified but gutted the first World Cup we’ve qualified for in years is where LGBTQ human rights are completely revolting.”

Following It’s A Sin, which won Howells the Royal Television Society Award for best male actor and the Bafta Cymru Award for leading actor, he is now starring as Emcee in Cabaret At The Kit Kat Club.

The revival of the hit show opened in December last year and went on to dominate the Olivier Awards in April, landing seven of the 11 prizes for which it was nominated.

Howells said on the queerness of the production: “Christopher Isherwood’s novel Goodbye To Berlin is proper cool, ahead of its time. His prose is astonishing. That’s one of the reasons Cabaret will never get boring or outdated.

Callum Scott Howells
Callum Scott Howells (Lewis Vorn/PA)

“The show isn’t just about positions of power, but what it means to be queer, and sexually confused. I hope the Emcee continues to be represented by every different type of person that exists.

“It should never be one type of gender playing the role. I saw (Eddie Redmayne) in the role a year ago and thought he was brilliant. I wanted to do something different, but I saw he had the time of his life doing it.

“His advice was: ‘You’re going to be f***** after Willkommen every night, but don’t worry!’ It’s like a finale, that number, as well as an opening.”

The actor’s other theatre credits include She Loves Me at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London and Matthew Bourne’s production of Lord Of The Flies.

A representative for Rowling has been contacted for comment.