Before I get into this, I just wanted to let you all know that I may be posting less frequently over the next couple of weeks because I’m starting a new job on Monday and want to prioritize settling into that. Of course, I also haven’t been working the past few weeks and have hardly posted so maybe I’m the problem lol.
I wasn’t originally going to make this post, but I actually think it may be beneficial. This post was inspired by MelinaPendulum’s video on the same topic. Both of us, along with many others, are cutting Harry Potter out of our lives.
I’ve been a huge fan of Harry Potter since I was in third grade. I’ve credited the series as providing me with an outlet to cope with high school. I read the books countless times, saw the movies almost as often, wrote fanfiction, and own a ton of Harry Potter merch. I looked up to JK Rowling for years. She was my writing idol. So please understand that I understand firsthand the impact this series has had.
Over the past few years, I’ve lost a lot of respect for JK Rowling. More and more readers, especially readers of color, have been pointing out the racism present in Harry Potter. Furthermore, the series is riddled with fatphobia and internalized misogyny. The Pottermore material on Ilvermorny appropriates the hell out of Native American cultures. I continued to love the series while also acknowledging and critiquing these issues.
But Rowling’s latest actions are the final straw. Rowling is not only being blatantly transphobic, but she is using her huge platform to spread dangerous rhetoric and misinformation. Worse, she has a huge amount of influence in Scotland and can therefore actually impact laws. Trans and non-binary people are actively being harmed here. At worst, they are attacked and murdered.
“But what about separating the art from the artist?” Well, as Lindsay Ellis points out in her latest video on death of the author… that’s kind of impossible in this case. Harry Potter and JK Rowling are one and the same. There’s a symbiotic relationship there that doesn’t exist with more franchises.
Moreover, as I stated earlier, her harmful ideologies permeate the text. Accio (previously accio-shitpost) on Tumblr wrote a great essay on this (at least one of the blog’s moderators is a trans woman). Her racism, her anti-Semitism, and her transphobia heavily influence the text. To claim otherwise would be a lie.
Ultimately, I care more about my trans brothers and sisters and non-binary kin than the relationship I once had with Harry Potter. It hurts me to see her hurt them. These are members of my community, these are people. I value their safety over a book series, however much it once meant to me.
And it hurts and infuriates me as a lesbian to see her use us as a defense for her transphobia. We are not your shield from criticism. Trans people don’t hurt us, but transphobia does. Also, there are trans lesbians! The two aren’t mutually exclusive, Rowling!
I can’t tell you how to feel about Harry Potter now, especially not if you are trans/non-binary. I can’t tell you to stop supporting Rowling, even though I feel deplatforming her is the best way to reduce her influence and protect trans people. I can only tell you that I will no longer be engaging in any way with Harry Potter.
I won’t be reading the books or buying new copies. I won’t be watching the movies (including the Fantastic Beasts franchise). I won’t be going to the Universal amusement park. And I will no longer be discussing the series on my blog or social media. This includes discontinuing one of my previously favorite series on my blog, Slytherin Greatness (where I Sorted non-HP characters into Slytherin). I’ve lost the joy I felt writing that series, knowing that it’s still inherently tied to JKR.
If you want to know more about Rowling’s transphobia and why it’s wrong, I recommend Sarah Z’s video. She rebuts each of JKR’s points using actual peer-reviewed science and statistics.
Can you still ethically support Harry Potter? Does it belong to the fans? I don’t think so. And I simply can’t look at Harry Potter the same, knowing the kind of person JK Rowling is. So, though I appreciate what it meant to me and how it impacted me, I am leaving Harry Potter behind.