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I’ve been putting off this article for a while because I honestly did not want to write it. I’ll be talking about J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter and my childhood hero who has in recent years stirred up a lot of controversy with her comments about transgender people. First J.K. Rowling for example publicly supported someone else who had been accused of transphobia and argued that the term “people who menstruate” is useless since we already have the word “women”. At this point I, as well as many other fans, wanted to believe her intentions were good and she did not mean any harm. However, after she posted a whole essay demonizing trans people, her transphobia became undeniably clear.

I absolutely think J.K. Rowling is transphobic, She has a huge platform that she has used to harm trans people and that is definitely not okay. However, I wanted for the longest time to believe that it was all just some big mistake, because I was such a huge fan of her books. And still are, really. I have struggled to accept that her statements have indeed been intentional and not just some huge misunderstandings because I completely stand with the trans community and do not want to support someone who means them harm. I want to keep reading Harry Potter but I also don’t.

J.K. Rowling let many of her fans down big time, especially those who are a part of the trans community. It was hard enough for me to believe that my hero was not at all the person I thought she was but I can’t even imagine what J.K. Rowling’s transphobic comments must have felt like for trans Harry Potter fans. As a result of this, many people have decided to separate the art from the artist. They keep reading and watching Harry Potter without thinking about its connection to J.K. Rowling. The art has been given its own life without its creator.

But can you ever truly separate an author from their books like that? After all, every time someone buys a Harry Potter book from the book store, J.K. Rowling gets a little bit richer. So, by reading Harry Potter you always support J.K. Rowling in a quite literal sense. However, there are also ways around this. You can buy the books used from someone or for example borrow them from your friend who already owns them and J.K. Rowling gets no money whatsoever. Something not so easily measured is whether buying Harry Potter books means you’re supporting the author’s ideology. I do not think this is inevitable. If you are someone who proudly and openly fights for trans rights, be it on the streets, the internet or within your own family, this definitely sends a message that people like J.K. Rowling do not get to oppress trans people without there being consequences.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though J.K. Rowling is a transphobe, I don’t think that should be the reason for us to stop enjoying Harry Potter. That should, however, cause us to support our trans siblings even more and fight alongside them even harder. Transphobes don’t get to stop us from enjoying great stories. Even if the stories were originally theirs, they can be reclaimed.

Lotta Nieminen

Helsinki '24

I study social science and when I don't I really like to look at butterflies, take naps and think about how I'm going to make the world a better place some day.
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