To say that I’m disappointed in J. K. Rowling for her anti-trans sentiments is an understatement. They say you should never meet your heroes; well, you should also never follow them on social media, either. Some of the things she’s said and done over the past year have truly curdled my blood and angered my soul and proved to be a true source of pain in my heart.
All that said, I refuse to believe that Harry Potter was laced with racism and antisemitism. It was the penultimate story of being who you are and embracing your truth and living your most authentic life. The fact that it was such a beautiful story of courage and hope is what made Rowling’s anti-trans sentiments so prophetically disappointing and painful but only in that those sentiments came from the same individual who gave us Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Harry Potter, Ron Weaseley, Hermione Grainger and told a story of a boy who realized he could be so much more than what he was told he could be. There was nothing in Harry Potter (at least that I remember) that I would construe as anti-trans and if there were to be some hidden prejudice in the story, I would expect that to be it. So to turn a magical creature into a horrible representation of an entire community is just too far. I can’t believe it and I don’t.
Please don’t mistake my sentiments: I’m not defending J. K. Rowling. She’s proven herself to be a true deatheater. But as nasty as she is, I just don’t believe that she built that nastiness into the Harry Potter series. Stories are driven by conflict, by good and evil, by characters that represent pieces of the whole. In this case, those characters were fantasies, dreamed up and created in the mind of a talented, albeit misguided, human being. The story was magnificent, a true magnum opus, but it was complicated to say the absolute least. And I just don’t see her sitting behind a desk with a white board and a marker making correlations between real life groups of people and the fantasy characters she created saying, “ooh, this looks like a nice vile creature, I’ll have them represent _________ (fill in the blank).” That just all seems too flagrant, even for her.
So I have to maintain that Harry Potter was just what it was: a story of a boy who discovered that the power of survival and hope and light was within him and whose bravery and courage are beacons to guide us in the night. I grew up with him; I hurt with him, I cried with him, I cheered with him, I fought with him and yes, when the time came, I even died a little with him. I can’t and won’t believe that everything those stories made me feel was tainted with the poison of racism and antisemitism. Because if it turns out to be true, what does that make me?