15.2: Sorting It Out: J.K. Rowling, transphobia, and what just happened to our community (with Jackson Bird)
Welcome to a very special episode of PotterCast!
This week, J.K. Rowling angered and saddened many fans when she came out in support of a woman whose company had not renewed her employment contract because she refused to recognize the legally protected rights of trans people. In coming back from a months-long Twitter hiatus, J.K. Rowling mischaracterized the facts of the case in support of a dangerous and unscientific movement that invalidates the trans experience, and in doing so flies in the face of medical consensus worldwide.
Her comments also confused a lot of fans who are not fully familiar with the issues at stake, or cannot understand how someone whose book series is so vehemently about tolerance can express support for a woman whose views invalidate so many people’s existences. That’s why in this episode, we are going over it all.
Jackson Bird, longtime friend of the podcast and of Leaky, as well as author, trans activist and educator, and expert Waffler, joins us to explain and process what this means for Harry Potter fans. We discuss:
- What actually happened
- What J.K. Rowling said versus what happened to the woman in question, Maya Forstater
- Why many fans saw this coming
- What to do now that the creator of the series we love so dearly has taken this stance
- How to support trans and non-binary communities
- How we as fans are feeling about all of this
- What to do now, especially since we still love this community
We hope you’ll listen and share. Here are some helpful resources, including things we mention in the show:
- Jack’s book! SORTED: Growing up, coming out, and finding my place
- A list of information from medical communities around the world validating that trans and non-binary people exist
- GLAAD’s transgender media program has great resources, FAQs, ways to take action, and ways to learn
- Transstudent.org has more Information regarding sex and gender
- GONADS, the great series by RadioLab
News articles regarding this incident:
News articles regarding past incidents that have also upset the community:
- The Mary Sue on Johnny Depp and the Crimes of Grindelwald
- Past indicators that J.K. Rowling was following trans-exclusionary ideologies
- The Guardian on J.K. Rowling’s writings on Native American cultulre
- “The Harry Potter Series Makes a Mess of Its Commentary on Racism” — The Mary Sue
- “Is Fantastic Beasts 2 Racist? Not Quite” — The Washington Post
PotterCast and Leaky stand with our trans and non-binary friends and colleagues.
This episode is in the process of being transcribed. For more, see pottercast.com.