The Harry Potter alum has been very vocal about supporting trans, non-binary, and gender-expansive folks and the LGBTQ community at large.
He most recently facilitated a conversation with young trans and nonbinary people as the first installment of The Trevor Project’s Sharing Space series, released on March 31st commemorating Transgender Day of Visibility.
Now, the 33-year-old actor has taken another step into his allyship by moderating a conversation with six young trans and nonbinary people to have a very vulnerable yet enlightening conversation about gender euphoria, pronouns, self-discovery, and what true allyship looks like.
“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,'” Daniel said to the group.
Although his supportive work has provided him with the moniker of an ally, Daniel had some pause when it comes to the word “ally” and how it’s used.
His reluctance aside, he clarifies that some folks respect the title. “But there is an original meaning to that word, and there [are] some people who embody that very powerfully.”
Meteo-Luis, one of the six panelists, chimed in with similar sentiment. “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,” he added. “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.”
Deity The Way, another panelist, added a brilliant perspective. “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,” they said. “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.'”
For me, as someone who identifies as nonbinary from a different generation, it was remarkable (and healing) to witness the youth candidly discuss their journeys of self-discovery and what true allyship can look like.
As Daniel addressed in a statement about the series, if we want to continue these discussions about transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth, then it makes sense they should be leading the conversation.
Daniel’s “weird little problem” with the word “ally” is a valid criticism because it’s possible to take up space, silence, or invalidate individuals of the trans, non-binary, and gender-expansive community whether you consider yourself an ally or not.