(TW: Transphobia. I was thinking about writing this after my Anime Pride Month posts are done, but it’s fresh in my mind and I just wanted to say something now when people still might actually care about it.)
When I was in third grade, I did my first book report on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was the first kid in my school to even read the damn thing and I couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it was. The world of mystery and magic sucked me in, and I related a lot to the main trio of Harry, Ron and especially Hermione. They were three misfit kids who didn’t fit in in the “real” world, but found a place where they could be themselves and have adventures with people who were just like them.
From childhood to my late teens, I was a Harry Potter obsessive. I read each book the day it came out, saw all the movies, and even went to the theme park at Universal Studios Florida. Like so many of my generation, Harry Potter made me fall in love with reading, gave me something to bond over in my tumultuous teenage years, and helped me become a more worldly and compassionate person.
As I got older, though, the magic of Harry Potter lost its sparkle. Compared to the earlier books, the later ones felt bloated and full of unnecessary romantic drama. Morally questionable plot points, like the house elves being so chill about slavery or the goblins being anti-Semitic stereotypes, became more apparent over time. “Expanded universe” stories like the Fantastic Beasts films did nothing for me (even if Newt Scamander is a surprisingly decent autistic character). But the thing that made me fall out of love with the Harry Potter fandom, more than anything else, was actually author J.K. Rowling herself.
Most Potterheads are familiar with ol’ Jo’s Twitter obsession. Over the years, she’s made a bunch of weird retcons to her already-finished story, like saying that Dumbledore was gay, Hermione is actually black, wizards used magic to get rid of their poop, and Donald Trump is more evil than Voldemort. (OK, that last one is probably true.)
But her support of TERFs (Transphobic, Evil, Reactionary Fart-heads) on social media has flown under the radar until recently. Her public support of Maya Forester, a tax account who was fired for her own transphobic tweets, got some notoriety last year. But it didn’t make front page news until last week, when she wrote a long, confusing, and weirdly self-congratulatory essay on her website, explaining her inexplicable position. It illuminated the ugly truth that trans Potter fans have known for a long time: J.K. Rowling hates trans people, because transphobia is a huge part of feminism and political culture in the U.K.
Part of me hates even talking about this. I don’t use social media. I don’t normally care if a celebrity does something dumb or offensive. And I do believe in “separating the art from the artist” to some extent. But it’s hard to just look the other way when it’s coming from someone you used to greatly admire, saying hateful things about a group that you personally identify with.
Still, there is a lot to admire about Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s life in general. She started writing the books as a single mother in a coffee shop in Edinburgh. She overcame poverty, an abusive ex-husband, and her own depression to become the most successful female author ever. And even though I have issues with the books on a story level, I still support the general message; that hatred is corrosive and that our differences are what make us stronger in the end.
Honestly, this whole thing is baffling to me. How can someone who’s struggled through so much, who believes so strongly in love and inclusivity, still lack the humanity to accept people who are different? A lot of Harry Potter fans are trans, and used the books to help them understand their own identity when they were younger. Rowling could have tried to understand or connect with us, but instead, she’s alienated us, for no reason other than her own prejudice and ego.
So I’ve broken up with my Harry Potter fandom. I love the happy childhood memories the series gave me, but I also acknowledge my tastes have changed since then. And I don’t want to support an author who uses her massive wealth and fame to spread hate and disinformation about my community. I have to deal with too much of that shit in my life as it is. I mean, just last Friday, the Trump administration got rid of protections from discrimination based on gender identity in a medical setting. (Happy Pride Month everybody!)
If you still like Harry Potter, we can still be friends. Obviously. I’ve tried to give the series and Rowling credit for what they’ve done, which is more than they have for people like me. But I’ve moved on. I’ll take the good parts of Harry Potter with me – the magic, the messages of hope and inclusivity, the timeless story of young people fighting oppression and changing the world. J.K. Rowling can keep all the stereotypes, fear, and hatred for herself.
My favorite book was the Goblet of Fire I still loved the fifth part but the last two parts interested me a bit less. I must say I have read the dutch translations only for the later books and some of the really stereotypical things did not translate along… well or at least vacation me (I always read those during my summer holiday on the pool with drinks) did not notice.
It’s a shame she just thinks she’s more of a special woman than us because she was lucky enough to be born like that.. that it should give her more rights.. biology should only matter to actively treating physicians and only if medicine IS actually influenced by gender should it matter. Not to the receptionist not on forms etc!
I think she meant she was against the new British law ..but it came out so wrong. It’s not the first time either. This is the second time she did something like this.. first time blew over.. this time she did it in pride month..which is so stupid! I don’t think she actually soured the franchise or the fans for me but she makes it a franchise that is hard to trust. Did she mean anything by that line?! Was that metaphor done in good spirits? I think she took that from many people!
I really really hope she writes a new book so she can see what she has done to herself. I’d probably read it.. (though maybe not buy it xD) but I would like to see her realise what she has done. Sometimes fame and attention is NOT good. That last tweet seemed to be for nothing but to be in the news again.
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Yeah I don’t think we can give Jo the benefit of the doubt anymore. She’s had too many chances for that. She could very easily take just a little bit of her time to read about trans issues or open a dialogue with her trans fanbase. But she seems to have surrounded herself in an echo chamber of TERFism. She tries to position herself as the underdog, speaking out against the horrible trans agenda that is silencing and oppressing cis women. It’s all horseshit, of course. She’s literally a billionaire. But once you have that much money and status, I think it becomes that much harder for people to tell you you’re wrong and have it stick. Idk
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I still love Harry Potter and my faves will always be The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire, but I am slowly falling out of love with the fandom because of J.K. Rowling.
I don’t really like feminism and the fact that it implies about Trans people. We are all different and should be accepted for what we are, Aren’t we all the same? Human? We should be treated as such, as equals.
But seeing that last tweet from Rowling just really hammered the last nail in the coffin for me with Harry Potter. I still reread the books but I won’t support a author with a stance like that at all.
I’m not anti feminism per se but I do think that it can be problematic when people use feminism to put down the POC or LGBTQ+ community. We are all hurting and it’s ridiculous to put one groups needs over another like that.
I agree we should all be treated equally, and to be honest I just wish this wasn’t such a big deal. I wish being trans was as normal as having brown or blonde hair, or drinking Coke instead of Pepsi. Just one of those little quirks that everyone has that has no bearing on who you are as a person.
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