Removing Harry Potter from my shelves because J.K. Rowling is a raging TERF

Some time two weeks ago, yet another story of the Harry Potter author publicly supporting something hateful aimed at the transgender community was reported on. This finally had me grab all Harry Potter books from my shelves, put them in a cardboard box, tape the box shut and put it away.

The Harry Potter books have meant a lot to me. I don’t know how many times I’ve read them or listened to the Stephen Fry-narrated audiobooks. Hell, the books became so familiar to me that I bought them in various languages to aid me in learning. The franchise has been a point of connection with a number of friends. References from and memes based on content from the books and movies will be forever burned into my brain.

But over the past few years, I found it hard to look at the books without a painful pang, robbing me of the joy I typically felt when thinking of the stories. The author’s decision to propagate transphobia has tainted my relationship with the Harry Potter books for a long time, and it was, in all honesty, mixed with a fair amount of shame because I didn’t catch the various bits of transphobic drivel in her Cormoran Strike novels, at a time where I had believed myself to be more sensitive to those topics already.

For the longest time, I didn’t quite understand why that was, why I wasn’t able to separate Rowling from Harry Potter, when I’ve separated the art from the artist in other cases. Now I believe I finally got it:

J.K. Rowling is intentionally, actively, violently transphobic. She uses her gigantic platform to propagate hate and props up others who want to see transgender people hurt and excluded from society. By all appearances she revels in spreading an ideology devoid of tolerance and humanity.

This, combined with how much I love(d) the Harry Potter franchise, is the reason why I can’t continue to blissfully enjoy the books. With Rowling it’s not accidental ignorance, it’s her desire to cause pain and endanger transgender persons.

I can’t expect her to change her behaviour, to stop causing pain, but I can fill the space on the shelf with books from other authors.

Alex Hoffmann @mangochutney