There are people who will not agree with me on this and that is their prerogative. I know that this is a sensitive subject and I’m willing to bet there are people on all different sides of the spectrum when it comes to this.
To say that my heart is broken by Jo Rowling’s refusal to admit that she is anti-trans while continuing to try to defend herself by posting very anti-trans statements has broken my heart beyond anything that I can explain. This is a person that I’ve looked up to my entire life…since the moment that I picked up the first Potter book when I was only ten years old. For 22 years of my life, this has been a person that I have respected and loved and hero worshiped.
Its hard to wrap your head around, honestly. But the fact is – Jo Rowling refuses to learn. She refuses to see that she is wrong and that the statements she makes are completely anti-trans. For awhile now, I kept hoping that she was just misinformed, I kept wanting to believe the excuses that she made but I can’t do that anymore. I can no longer look up to her. I can no longer admire her. I can no longer think of her as a hero. I can no longer hold any kind of respect for her. I. Can’t. Do. It.
And the thing is, such a huge reason that I can’t do is because of her. How does one write a book about love and tolerance and acceptance and turn around and act like that? How does one write a villain born on the principle that he is better than others because of the circumstances of his birth and become that villain herself?
I’ve watched fans all over the world react to this with so much anger and disbelief. I’m angry. I’m absolutely raging and furious. I hate that this is happening. I hate it so much. This is something I love more than anything in the world and its hard to come to terms with Jo Rowling and the fact that she is a TERF.
I’ve thought about it long and hard. I’ve thought about it for hours and hours and its been killing me. Its been making me sick to my stomach. This is not something that I take lightly. I recognize that I have experienced levels of privilege in my life but I’m a biracial, bisexual atheist woman in America who has had an abortion. I’m not exactly in the prime privilege group. I take things like this incredibly seriously. Its been hard to deal with.
This is what I’ve come up with.
I’m done with Jo Rowling. The moment that she chose to continue to dig herself a hole on her anti-trans way, the moment that she tried to make herself a victim and say that those who speak against her are anti-woman and its just…its too horrible. I can’t support a person that refuses to learn and refuses to admit that she’s wrong and refuses to apologize and become a better person. I can’t do that. It breaks my heart to lose this hero but there are so many amazing people in this world to look up to that I would rather look up to. There are plenty that I already do.
I’ll say it again – I am a biracial, bisexual atheist woman who has had an abortion living in America. If you think for one goddamn minute that I do not believe in the equality of ALL people, you can go fuck yourself. Seriously. I try not to cuss on this website because so many of my readers are teens but seriously go fuck yourself. You don’t know me at all if you think that. I do not belittle the experiences of trans people. I do not belittle the experiences of nonbinary people. I do not. I will never understand but I stand with them. This author does NOT stand with them but her books taught me to stand with them. 100%.
But I can’t say goodbye to Harry Potter and this is why. Harry Potter doesn’t belong to Jo Rowling anymore and I don’t think it has for a very long time. She created a world of love and acceptance and tolerance, of bravery and courage and fight. She created people who are more empathetic and more understanding and accepting. I would not be the person that I am without those books. There’s just no way. The reason that I fight for women’s reproductive rights, the reason I believe that black lives matter, the reason that I continue to work hard for equality in the LGBTQ community is so directly connected with Harry Potter. I believe in equality and compassion and acceptance and the courage to fight when the fight seems so impossible. I believe in the power of love and that love truly is the most powerful magic that we have as human beings because when we love, we are capable of so goddamn much.
Its more than that though – this fandom has created a community that does so much good. So many people across the world have banded together to make the world a better place. Lumos, Jo Rowling’s charity, is fucking phenomenal and continues to be so, despite its founders flaws. The Harry Potter Alliance. My favorite running group, Potterhead Running, does everything for charity – every run, every race, every contest, every mile is done for charities all over the country and the world. I have met some of the most wonderful people through my love of these books and have found friends and family. I have found a community all over the world. I’m forever changed because of these books.
I exist as a person because of these books. They literally saved my life and I could never even for a moment give them up. I can’t. I would not be here without them. I read the first book when I was so young, ten years old. My family and I had just moved in with my grandparents and my siblings and I, all six of us, were living in one room. We were so goddamn poor. The next few years were so hard. My parents fought all the time – literally screamed at each other, said horrible things to each as if the six of us couldn’t hear them. We moved to a different city, away from our friends, our family and the city we’d grown up in and were expected to just deal with it. I raised my siblings through my entire preteen and teen years. I drowned in the worries of an adult – how bills were not being paid, how groceries were going to fill the fridge and pantry, whether or not my siblings were doing well in and out of school. I was so fucking depressed all the time. These books were my escape. They saved me again and again and again when I didn’t think I could go through another day. I would skip school, hiding under the blankets all day and just want to give up but Potter always brought me out of it. It still continues to do that. I wouldn’t be the person that I am, I’m not even sure I’d be alive without it.
And that’s what I mean by the Potter world doesn’t belong to Jo Rowling anymore. She created this fictional world that bled into the real world and created so many amazing things and wonderful people. There are books out there that exist because she inspired them. There are people who are alive because of those books. She created something bigger than herself and I’m not going to let her take that away from me. I can’t let her take that away from me. I can’t let her take that away from the millions of people who have loved her books. They don’t belong to her anymore. They can’t. She cannot create this wonderful world, inside and outside of her books, and expect us to support her when she steps away from what she taught us. Harry Potter is bigger than Jo Rowling, 100%.
I will do my best in the future to avoid buying officially licensed merchandise for Harry Potter because, frankly, Jo Rowling doesn’t deserve my money. But to be fair, I hardly ever do anyway – I hate that Ravenclaw has a damn raven instead of the Eagle and I spend more money on indie artists and creators, especially on Etsy. I will no longer support an author who can’t see that she claims to be pro-trans but continues to post things that are so completely offensive to trans people. I can’t do that. Its not in me to do that.
But I can’t let go of the books. The books are too big for her. The books don’t belong to her. They belong to us, to those of us who read them and became better people from them, who created communities and charities, who found friends and family and acceptance. They belong to us. They belong to me. You don’t have to agree with me and I understand if you don’t. I understand if you toss your books into a bonfire and never look back – I do, I truly do. But I truly believe that in this case, I can separate art from the artist because this art hasn’t belonged to its creator for a very, very long time.
Say goodbye to Potter, Jo. We’re taking it from you.