What to do with Harry Potter today as a trans person?

I am a witch. This isn’t code for I like magic or I cosplay a stereotype it’s  a big part of who I am. I have feel drawn to witchcraft my entire life. As such there has always been a part of me that’s been wanting to watch these films for a long time. I am also trans.

Recently the creator of the series has made some vile, hateful transphobic comments waging war on transwomen in particular. Since that time the trans community has responded with boycotts of her work along with constant attacks not only on her and her supporters, but also any trans person who attempts to enjoy the fictional works she created.

This is where I get conflicted. While I agree she is a hateful person and I absolutely refuse to support her, or her cause, I don’t know how I feel about attacking trans women. We’re under constant attack as it is. So going into something like a discussion on Harry Potter immediately puts a target on my back. Not that I am not prepared to lose followers again as I’ve gotten used to losing people as a trans woman. What I don’t do is block or unfollow people based on their views, even those I disagree with. Here’s why.

I have been bullied and pushed around my entire life. I don’t take kindly to people telling me I have to like something, I am not allowed to like something or that I am supposed to hate something. I will like whatever I choose to like. I do not care how evil or disgusting a creator of a fictional work is because I work in the business. I know all works are collaborative. Harry Potter is a huge franchise and I know that buying the DVD’s doesn’t ONLY support the woman we’re told to hate, it also supports the GOOD people who have spoken out against her comments. There’s more to it than that.

The common criticism I hear from angry trans women is people only like HP because of nostalgia. They won’t let go of something they grew up with. Here’s the thing. I have never seen any of it till recently, right before all this controversy started was when I saw the first one for the first time. In fact if anything due to my estranged relationship with my youngest sister, who was a big fan of these books and movies, I should be immediately repelled by my own hurtful memories associated with it, on top of the transphobic comments now tied to it’s creator. But I am not deterred.

I have no nostalgia for Harry Potter. I didn’t grow up with it. I avoided it for so many reasons. I never read any of the books. I didn’t play any of the games. I understood zero of the pop cultural references made in regards to it. I am not a Harry Potter fan. Yet I feel compelled to defend others right to enjoy it to this day, even, no especially if they are themselves trans and here’s why. We get attacked all the damn time by everyone that hates us. The last thing we need right now is our own people turning on us. If you can’t enjoy HP any longer because of the controversy that is absolutely fine go ahead and boycott it all you want. But DO NOT go after other transwomen period. Ever. Under any circumstances. We don’t need it, we don’t deserve it and like you we’re fragile too looking for any form of comfort.

If a transwomen, or transman, or nonbinary person or however you identify wants to enjoy these movies, then do so. Have fun. Find anything you can in this life to mitigate your suffering. I hate to lose more people, especially people that should be supportive of me as they are going through the same thing, but I will be damned if I let anyone tell me what to like. I refuse to boycott anything just because someone else said so. I don’t go out of my way to proclaim it’s not important but we have to pick our battles. Going after J.K Rowling is perfectly fair she brought it on herself. Going after innocent trans people, especially YOUNG kids who are seeking comfort in a movie series or book series that was written to comfort them, shame on you!

I suspect I will lose followers over this stance. I have the entire film collection on DVD. I bought it a while back, before I was out and before I was even paying attention to trans news. I am going to watch the movies and make up my own mind, for myself. I am not going to be shunned or shamed for doing so. If my watching a movie makes you hate me, then I have no use for you in the first place. I need movies to survive. If you try to take that away from me I’m likely to turn hostile towards you.

I also won’t respond kindly to people saying it’s okay to buy the dvd’s used. No, I will buy whatever I want. I know that a tiny fraction of that money does go to the author, but some of it also goes to the director, the actors, the producers, and the studio. But I don’t care. I have Jeepers Creepers on DVD and I don’t care about the pervert behind them.

I am not going to alter the movies, music, or books I enjoy just because there are bad apples in the world. For crying out loud our entire society is out to get us and so many others are outspoken transphobes yet for some reason Harry Potters has become a battle cry, a lightning rod for hate. Fine, if saying I refuse to boycott HP or saying I’ll watch whatever I want costs me people, then those people probably  weren’t worth my time. And that right there is what makes me sick about all this.

Every single trans person is worth my time. I won’t block or unfollow or attack a trans person who’s very real pain prevents them from enjoying these works of fiction. I won’t, if it hurts you then by all means avoid it. I feel your pain. I share your suffering! I do, I am trans too after all. But please, do not go after other trans people for just enjoying something that lessens their pain. We have to find a way to get along. I don’t mean to sound hostile or confrontational but I am tired of defending myself to people. I do that on a daily basis 24/7 just being trans. I am not going to defend my right to find anything I can to lessen my own pain.

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Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos.