I don't remember when the story of Harry Potter—the Chosen One—first entered my life. I don't remember the first time I picked up the first book, Philosopher's Stone. For that matter, I don't remember reading most of the books or watching most of the films for the first time. The Wizarding World has been a part of my life since I was six-years-old; I grew up with the characters and cherishing the story of the Boy Who Lived. I know it sounds cheesy, but this book series often felt like one of the only constants growing up.
As a kid, I learned a lot from the Harry Potter series: the importance of kindness, community, friendship, facing your fears, and never giving up. I learned even more as I got older and I could read the books with a critical lens. There are a lot of firsts I don't remember when it comes to the series, but I do remember when I started doubting the author and feeling disconnected from the story. I remember recognizing that certain elements weren't good—even wrong—when I was in high school. In college, I learned a lot and I was able to better pinpoint other aspects of the story that hadn't been sitting right with me for years.
From the house elves to goblins and female characters to villains, there were various elements that I recognized as an issue but I didn't have the language to identity the root of the issue until I was older. For instance, the way she describes the house elves as "enjoying enslavement" and a lot of wizards or witches (including Ron Weasley) shrugging it off is very problematic. A lot of the female villains are also described in very anti-feminist ways while protagonists are often not described that; for example, Aunt Petunia is described as having a horse face.
“I am what I am, an' I'm not ashamed.” -Rubeus Hagrid
In recent years, the author of the beloved novels has found herself in quite the predicament because of anti-trans tweets and comments. Understandably so, a lot of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies have spoken out against her and completely distanced themselves from her as well as the book series. Other members of the community are still active in the fandom. Regardless, many are left feeling quite confused and hurt by the author's comments. Many, like myself, have been hurt by those comments because we support the trans community and LGBTQIA+ community as a whole.
Many propose separating the author from the story, but I counter that statement by asking is that even possible? When there are problematic elements within the text, can the author truly be separated from the story? I'm not here to tell people to let go completely of a beloved childhood story. In all honesty, I've struggled with so many feelings and thoughts as I've revaluated my own connection to the Wizarding World. The series helped me in many ways growing up, and I can understand the struggle of knowing how to move past it. I'm not here to tell people how to feel or what to do; that's your choice.
Nevertheless, I implore you to think deeply about this question and think critically about what the author has said—on Twitter and within the text. I recognize this conversation and situation is nuanced. If you chose to keep engaging with the Wizarding World, I encourage you to engage primarily with fandom made content. Listen to podcasts produced and hosted by fans. Read fanfiction (if that's your thing!). Purchase fan art or other fan-made merchandise. If you engage with or purchase official Wizarding World content, please do your research and consider the impact. If you chose to disengage completely, I support you and your decision. Things are hard and confusing now with Harry Potter, but I am doing my best to support the trans and queer community in all aspects of my life. All we can do is our best. Hang in there, friends.