Updated 1 minute ago. Posted 2 hours ago
“The magic of Harry Potter is gone.”
J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments in 2020 have sparked a ton of reactions from Harry Potter fans around the world. In June, she faced backlash when she made a slew of tweets regarding an op-ed in Devex about menstrual health.
In September, Rowling released a new book, Troubled Blood (published under her pen name Robert Galbraith), which gained a lot of attention because of its anti-trans messages. Everyone’s reactions to her anti-trans comments have been different, but it’s hard to ignore her discriminatory opinions during an important year for social change and justice.
This inspired us to ask the BuzzFeed Community how J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments changed their relationship with the Harry Potter series. Here’s what they had to say:
“As a child who grew up in an unhappy household, the Harry Potter series gave me a place to escape to when things got rough. But I’m in my mid-twenties now, and over the years I’ve realized how many problematic elements are in the books. The depiction of the Gringotts goblins and the treatment of Cho Chang were questionable, and Rowling’s transphobia is the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“It’s a sad fact of life that many of the things we once loved as children are actually filled with hate. Some people can overlook it, but I can’t. For me, the magic of Harry Potter is gone.”
“As a trans woman whose first realizations came from reading about Hermione embracing her femininity at the Yule Ball and wishing I could go to a middle school dance in a dress like hers…yeah, J.K. Rowling’s comments hurt like hell.”
“I’ve completely washed my hands of her. I got rid of all of my books and merchandise and I am three sessions in of removing my Deathly Hallows tattoo. I cannot support an individual who has such a warped view on human beings.”
“The whole ‘agree to disagree’ idea simply doesn’t work when it comes to J.K. Rowling. Sure, having a different opinion is fine and it can spark a valuable conversation, but when the different opinion is about the very existence of a group of people, it’s something that shouldn’t be tolerated. The existence and importance of trans lives is not up for debate. She is wrong and has been wrong on multiple occasions, and she should absolutely be condemned for her comments.”
“I started rereading the books at the beginning of the pandemic because it was a source of comfort, like visiting an old friend. When ‘she who shall not be named’ made her anti-trans comments, I felt torn about continuing to read the books. After much thought and consideration, I decided that what works for me is to make a donation to a trans charity each time I read the books.”
“J.K. Rowling’s transphobia has left me brokenhearted. My girlfriend and I are both transgender, and her attacks on trans people are so unnecessary. They can do so much harm because of her huge platform and influence. Harry Potter was the one thing in my life that always brought me joy, but I can’t read them anymore, and it honestly feels like losing a friend or a romantic partner.”
“The way I view her as a writer has definitely changed. I was so inspired by how she came to write the Harry Potter series, but now I feel like she’s convinced herself that what she’s saying now is fact when in reality it isn’t. I don’t support her, but I DO support the Harry Potter actors who’ve come forward against J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments.”
“I have a lot of very confused and hurt feelings. I have three decent-sized Harry Potter tattoos, but my heart bleeds for the trans community who is being marginalized by her. I’ve decided to no longer purchase new Harry Potter merchandise or go to the theme parks because I can’t give J.K. Rowling more money to spread hate.”
“J.K. Rowling’s transphobia has brought to light a lot of discriminatory situations embedded in Harry Potter. She’s pretended to tout diversity by proclaiming Dumblebore was queer, but she won’t write it into the actual canon. As a gay woman, I am absolutely appalled by how she’s used the ‘protection’ of queer women to discriminate against trans women.”
“I’m a public librarian and I’ve introduced Harry Potter to dozens of young people and I’ve seen it bring magic to them like it did for me. While the libraries already own her books, I don’t feel like I can openly express enthusiasm about the series to these kids like I used to. It’s very sad when someone you’ve idolized turns out to have such damaging views.”
“I recently came out as a lesbian, and when I heard about J.K. Rowling’s tweets, it felt surreal. She was one of my idols, but now she’s a transphobic annoyance. I’m not going to stop reading the books or cosplaying the characters, but I am going to educate as many people as I can about her anti-trans comments.”
“When reading the books as a kid, I always pictured J.K. Rowling as an omniscient narrator reading to me about underdogs saving a magical world where differences were appreciated. Now it all feels like such a contradiction. How can someone so dismissive about their phobias write about a group of misfits uniting to defeat a bigoted villain who wants a homogenous society? It doesn’t make sense anymore. It’ll be a long time before I can read the books again.”
“J.K. Rowling’s transphobia has brought out many discriminatory people in the Harry Potter community. Seeing friends come to her defense about her anti-trans comments just because ‘Harry Potter is iconic’ has been disgusting. Some of these people don’t even care about gender politics (a problem in its own right), and they’ve become anti-trans overnight because they feel a certain loyalty toward her.”
“I’m trans, and her comments messed me up. I’m not getting rid of my Harry Potter books and movies, but I also don’t think I can handle consuming them for quite a while. I know separating the art from the artist is a thing, but my brain doesn’t find that easy — time and work are what it’ll take.”
“I still love the Harry Potter series, but it’s hard for me to read the actual books because of Rowling’s comments. So whenever I want to reread the books, I consume fanfictions instead.”
“I expected a certain level of mindfulness from J.K. Rowling, but instead we got that unsourced ‘essay’ where trans identity was described as a ‘social contagion’ and gender clinics were compared to queer conversion therapy. I can’t forgive such appalling, damaging bile — not even from her. I know right from wrong, and it would be wrong to support her work moving forward.”
“I refuse to let J.K. Rowling take away the magic of Harry Potter from me. Harry Potter was all I had when I was bullied as a kid, and she doesn’t deserve to take those moments away from me. I will always love and cherish Harry Potter while simultaneously calling out J.K. Rowling and her terrible, harmful views. But I will not give her the power to tarnish my memories — I refuse.”
“I stopped wearing my Deathly Hallows necklace, and I haven’t been able to put it back on yet. I have not been able to reconcile my feelings and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to. I feel like everything I once loved has been tainted by hate.”
“This particular series was a safe place for marginalized and abused people, but J.K. Rowling violated that safety. She capitalized on queerness and failed to represent it when the time came. I treasure the series and what it’s meant to me over the years, but I can’t bring myself to buy or view anything knowing she’ll make money from it. Maybe if she wasn’t profiting as much, she’d realize she couldn’t get away with such serious trespasses.”
“It’s interesting how J.K. Rowling used ‘J.K.’ as her writing name so her work wouldn’t be dismissed because she’s a woman. But now, she’s judging others based on the gender they identify with — she’s a hypocrite.”
“A close friend of mine came out as trans in secondary school. Prior to his transition, a great deal of strength came to him by reading Harry Potter. So, when J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments came out, my friend immediately lost a hero in Harry and one in Rowling. He used to own merchandise and plan an annual trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but now he can’t even look at a picture of the Deathly Hallows symbol without feeling ill.”
Editor’s Note: BuzzFeed does not support discriminatory or hateful speech in any form. We stand by the LGBTQ+ community and all fans who found a home in the Harry Potter series and will work to provide a safe space for fans. If you, like us, feel impassioned about trans rights, learn more or donate here.
Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.
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