J.K. Rowling keeps doubling-down on her transphobic rhetoric, most recently by sharing a Twitter thread referring to hormone therapy and puberty blockers as ‘the new conversion therapy’.
It’s clear that Rowling has never spoken to a single trans person, never mind a transgender child who she claims she wants to protect. Paris Lees invited her to meet trans kids and discuss her views, but so far I’ve not heard that Rowling has taken her up on this kind offer.
Rowling also uses misleading information to make her points; for example, she points to an isolated case of a clinic that is under investigation for not supporting transitioning children properly, and rather than suggesting that greater support is given to trans children, she continues to defend her views that access to hormone therapy should be even more restricted than it already is.
Given that trans people are under the intense threat of violence and even death, you’d think that an author who’s works inspired millions of children to become better adults and be accepting, would be more supportive of this marginalised community.
For those of us who grew up adoring the Harry Potter series, this latest evidence that Rowling is showing herself to be incredibly transphobic is deeply troubling. This must be especially tough for trans and non-binary fans, who must feel dejected and abandoned by an author who, quite possibly, originally inspired them to be their authentic selves.
After all, Harry Potter is all about being yourself and support those who are different. It’s about enjoying the richness that diversity brings, rather than punishing uniqueness and individuality. It’s about supporting those who rebel against injustice.
So, for Rowling to come out with these disgusting statements, which are filled with misinformation and designed to inspire hate, rather than support, all while using her privileged position and past experiences such as her sexual assault to prompt her hateful ideology, it’s understandable that many fans are heartbroken.
As a Harry Potter fan myself, as well as a dedicated ally to the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve wrestled with a lot of mixed feelings over the past few days.
Clearly, I’m not alone in this: many fans have condemned Rowling over her comments. Most notably, two of the biggest Harry Potter fan sites out there, Mugglenet and the Leaky Cauldron, issued a joint statement denouncing Rowling over her hateful comments.
For the Leaky Cauldron, this appears to be a genuine attempt to show solidarity with the trans community; however, the founder of Mugglenet was the one who initially spawned Rowling’s latest comments by tweeting support for her and claiming that, despite everything she has said, she’s not transphobic. As such, it remains to be seen if Mugglenet’s part in the statement was just lip service designed to placate fans.
After much soul searching and consideration, I’ve reached a conclusion; being a Harry Potter fan doesn’t make you transphobic.
It just means that you have to support trans rights even more than you love Harry Potter. Show your support for the trans community loudly and proudly at any time you can to make it clear that you’re an ally despite the views of the author of your favourite kid’s books.
One bookshop is donating to trans children’s charity Mermaids for every sale of a Harry Potter book, so consider buying your copy from there if you ever need to replenish your collection. Alternatively, you could donate to Mermaids yourself, or check out any of these worthy causes that support trans people and help make the world a safer place for them.
You should also constantly rebel against transphobia and the abuse of trans or non binary people wherever you see it. Whether it’s online, or in a conversation, you should show your support for the trans community.
Additionally, you should also try to read more books written by trans authors and watch more shows and films that are created by members of the LGBTQ+ community. Read some books by trans and non binary authors, and watch films created by trans people, not just about them. I’d recommend the Laverne Cox Disclosure as a starting point; it’s a great way to learn more about the representation of trans people in film and popular culture from the point of view of the trans community.
At the end of the day, it’s tough to deal with the revelation that an author who inspired you as a kid is transphobic, especially during these already challenging times. Just keep supporting trans rights, and remember that if Harry Potter has taught us anything, it is that supporting those who are marginalised is a noble cause that you should take great pride in, no matter who stands against you.
And, if you’re really feeling low, just remember that Arthur Weasley would adore you and be impressed with your Muggle skills: you’re using a computer!