Friends have asked me about reading the Harry Potter books to their kids and its appropriateness. I’ve had customers ask me about getting items second-hand so they don’t have money going to J.K. Rowling. In case you’re reading this here first, let me break it down.
I’m Trans, identify as non-binary, and I make Harry Potter inspired wands. But Trans issues and LGBTQIA2S+ issues are not the only ones that present themselves regarding the series of books and the author. There are issues with representation regarding Black, BIPOC, and anti-Semitism.
The anti-Semitism present in the books in the form of the Gringotts Wizarding Bank and the Goblins who work there. Goblins are a medieval trope exaggerating the appearance and behavior of Jewish People. It doesn’t need further explanation than it is harmful and outdated and she included it in the books and films and current Fantastic Beasts films despite suggestions to do otherwise.
Black representation is barely existent in the first books or movies, until most recently starting with the stage musical. She said she didn’t have a problem with Hermione being Black. If she’d really liked the idea, she would have written her that way in the first place. Representation of other People of Colour is not flattering.
Cho Chang’s treatment and name; it should be noted that her name, as it appears now, is the second iteration. The original version of her name was even more offensive. The Patil Twins was unflattering. The treatment of Nagini in the Fantastic Beasts movies once again is problematic. Making women monstrous, objectified, and exotic. Once again, all of this is dated and not at all what makes for clever-story telling.
Saying Dumbledore was gay outside of the publishing of the books. The only clues were the not-then-detailed relationship to Grindewald and Dumbledore’s heeled buckled boots, explained away by how all wizards dress strangely, not understanding Muggle clothes.
And her anti-Trans rants. She wrote a horror-mystery under a pen name. And the antagonist, the villain, was Trans. An MtF (male to female) who preyed on women. And here we see a glimpse into her stance on Trans people. Her several page tirade explains it further. She mentions having personal tragic experience being attacked by a Trans person. But she’s decided to take it out on children.
Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERF for short) take the view that delaying transition is best for everyone, including those children who do not fall into the colonial gender binary. They remove language that could be taught in schools, they reduce the view of the world recognized gender spectrum with the outdated colonial gender binary, and they don’t even want hormone suppression available to curb the effects of development, or to provide binders. They want to assign one of two genders based solely on reproductive features and force kids to go into the bathrooms that they have been assigned and to participate in the sports curriculum they have been assigned. In short, they don’t listen to children. Even the pet store didn’t want to gender the rat I was buying in case it developed and presented as something different. Even a pet store doesn’t gender rats.
What this leads to is children not being able to express what they may be feeling in regards to gender dysphoria. They may have to create their own words or terms to explain what’s happening to them. It’s already difficult enough to explain how one is feeling without throwing gender into the mix. They might attempt binding without healthy methods or materials and cause themselves personal physical harm. They also may self-harm regardless, and suicidal rates do go up. Aslo, it leads to feeling vulnerable, and that makes Trans kids targets of abuse including sexual abuse. That’s right, forcing 2% of the population to conform to binary causes them to commit suicide and worse.
But this is justified by TERFs in the fight for women’s rights. When booking speakers for their Feminist events, they will book those who have transitioned from FtM (female to male transition). That means they could be presenting and existing as male, but be asked to speak and be akin to female. They will not book MtF. They constantly misgender people on purpose. They don’t respect pronouns, and only biological female is important to them. And they police bathrooms especially. And the hypocrisy is incredible.
Scared a man will be present in the bathroom and barge in on their privacy in the stall, they will spy on other women in neighbouring stalls to determine if they’re male or female. They pass legislation to ensure girls play girl sports teams and boys play boy sports teams and they go to their girl or boy bathrooms based on their assigned birth, even if the child is uncomfortable, or in danger. They will force a child to develop into a man or woman and not let the opportunity to transition be made available until their 20s. No hormone suppression afforded this whole time. The surgery is more dangerous at this age after full development. Children, teenagers, recover faster than adults. Earlier gender affirming surgery is better on the psyche.
Male assigned are more readily given gender dysphoria diagnosis than female assigned. I only got top surgery at the age of 42. I’ve never been happier. But this should have happened for me thirty years ago.
I attempted suicide for the first time at the age of 9. I was abused across the entire spectrum of abuse. So this is very important to me. Just as her cause is very important to J.K. Rowling. There is an emotional component to both of our stories. We were both attacked for the same reason but different perspectives. Either sucks.
So I look at the science. And the science is clear. 2% of the population is something other than male or female. And that’s with decades of suppression of anything outside of the colonial gender binary. We may see this go up as the suppression of this minority is finally lifted.
There was a time, all too recently, where doctors told parents that there was an intersex birth and the parents had to choose a gender for their child. Surgery was performed on babies. The idea was the sooner the chosen/assigned gender was established, the easier it would be on the baby, that the child would adapt as it grew up. The follow-up was done at the age of six. Everything was reported as fine.
But other researchers thought this wasn’t enough of a follow-up. After all, development of gender doesn’t really begin until age eight in some instances. They wanted to know about teenage years and adulthood. In fact, when more attention was given to these babies and their assigned birth surgeries, the results were staggeringly against deciding the gender for them. Many expressed gender dysphoria, if they had survived suicidal depression.
If you have a child, listen to your child. That is the best advice I can give. Children supported by their parents are most likely to have productive and happy adult lives.
Stay tuned for part two where I’ll explain what you can do regarding the series, movies, stage play(s), author, etc.