Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you will have been exposed to the bloodcurdling realization that the world’s (previously) most beloved author, J.K. Rowling, has outed herself as a transphobe, or ‘TERF’ (trans exclusionary radical feminist). After a shockingly bigoted rant on her Twitter feed, followed by a blog post in which she doubled-down on her hatred (I didn’t read it because the things it said were far too upsetting, but I’ve been told it’s filled with unspeakable hate and as such has been named ‘The Blog That Must Not Be Read’). Bigots will attempt to convince you that her tweets and her writing contain nothing but ‘reasoned and well thought out opinions on a very complex subject’, but that’s precisely the kind of underhanded tactics trans-haters (or ‘traters’) use. They appear rational, they pretend to be respectful, they point to ‘biology’ and present logical arguments regarding the safety of women. However, if you read between the lines and completely reword everything they say, what they are really saying is: ‘TRANS PEOPLE DON’T DESERVE TO LIVE’. Yes, that is LITERALLY what J.K. Rowling didn’t literally say. Shocking isn’t it?Of course, Harry Potter fans have been devastated by this outburst. Thankfully Daniel Radcliffe bravely came out and apologized on J.K Rowling’s behalf because she obviously didn’t understand what she was saying, and he expressed hope that the hatred he told everyone she had displayed wouldn’t turn people away from the incredibly powerful and financially lucrative franchise that is Harry Potter. Emma Watson chimed in a day or two later to explain that anyone can be whatever they chose to be regardless of reality or scientific fact, and was applauded for her progressive vagueness.As a trans woman, I find it difficult to enjoy the Harry Potter books these days knowing that the person who wrote them is literally worse than Voldemort. So I have decided to rewrite them for a more trans-inclusive society. It will take me some time, but when I am finished, Harry Potter fans the world over will be able to forget that the original author, who shamelessly erased trans people’s identities ever existed. ‘Femalus Authorus Obliviate!’So, allow me to present to you an extract from my very first reimagining of Rowling’s now tarnished fantasy series: Harry Potter and the Trans-inclusive Wizarding School.
Harry walked through the gigantic and ornate double doors into the Great Hall and was grateful to see the familiar figure of Hagrid seated at the top table. As nervous as he was to be experiencing the grandeur of Hogwarts for the first time, the place in which he would be spending the next seven books of his franchise, he felt a flush of excitement as he remembered how inclusive and diverse Hagrid had assured him it is. He looked around at the other students sitting along the four long tables, each of which represented their school House. The first table was filled with Hufflepuff students, who were known to mostly identify as non-binary but were also very accepting of bisexual non-binary individuals. The second table hosted the students of Ravenclaw, fiercely queer, and loyal to their sexuality. A drag kid looked his way and cheerily twirled her nipple tassels at him. At the third table the students of Gryffindor sat, transgender and proud. Harry was uplifted by the multi-gender sex-positive atmosphere these tables exuded. However, as Harry looked towards the fourth table, he felt a sharp chill take hold of him, and the scars from his top surgery began to itch. Seated around the final table were the Slytherins. Each one of them cisgender and heterosexual. They were glaring at the rest of the students with expressions of disgust on their faces. Harry sincerely hoped he would not be sorted into their House.
As he was trying to deal with the wave of transphobia which had suddenly washed over him, a kindly witch with no stereotypical gender traits took him by the arm and led him to the Sorting Hat. ‘This is it!’ thought Harry. He remembered Hagrid telling him about the Sorting Hat and how it could look into your very genetic make up and discern whether or not your gender aligned with the biological sex you were born with. Harry suddenly became incredibly nervous. What if the hat concluded that Harry’s brain was as ‘female’ as his uterus? What if the Sorting Hat took heed of societal gender norms and failed to take into account the shifting nature of non-binary sexual attributes? He was suddenly aware of the silence which had descended on the Great Hall as he sat himself down on the Sorting Hat’s stool, and the Hat was placed upon his head by the androgynous witch. Alarmingly, a rather stern-sounding voice began to echo in his head. ‘Hmmmm. Now let me see…’ it chimed. ‘Oooh this is a bit tricky’. ‘Oh no!’ thought Harry ‘What if they think I’m cis?’ A terrifying thought crossed his mind ‘What if they put me in Slytherin with all the TERFS?’ He closed his eyes and willed the Hat to accept his identity without prejudice. ‘Oh I see,’ the Hat went on, ‘well, you have female anatomy, that’s for sure…plenty of X chromosomes…’ Harry began to repeat over and over in his head ‘Not Slytherin, NOT Slytherin!’ ‘Not Slytherin, eh?’ the Hat barked at him… ‘But you could be cis! You could take advantage of all the privilege that aligning to the traditional gender identity your biological sex traditionally conforms with would give you!’ Harry closed his eyes even tighter and thought, ‘But biological sex is a complex spectrum and coupled with the fact gender is a social construct, I refuse to align with a patriarchal system designed to promote oppression and allied with white supremacy’. At this, the Hat gave a little chuckle and this time called out to everyone in the Great Hall… ‘Well if you’re sure…better be GRYFFINDOR!’ Harry jumped down from the stool in relief and went to take his place at the Gryffindor table.The Hall exploded with riotous cheers from the students at almost every table. Except one.