Two of the biggest Harry Potter fansites have distanced themselves from JK Rowling following her tweets about transgender people. The author has been accused of transphobia after a series of tweets and later a blog post which argued that transgender people ‘erased the concept of sex’ and same-sex attraction and that only women menstruate.
The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet, two of the largest Harry Potter fansites, have both issued statements sharing their new outlines for their coverage of Rowling, stating: ‘We must reject her beliefs.’ A statement shared on The Leaky Cauldron, which was established in 2000, read: ‘As this fandom enters its third decade, J.K. Rowling has chosen this time to loudly pronounce harmful and disproven beliefs about what it means to be a transgender person.
In addition to the distaste we feel for her choice to publish these statements during Pride Month—as well as during a global reckoning on racial injustice—we find the use of her influence and privilege to target marginalised people to be out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books and celebrated by the Harry Potter community.
‘Although it is difficult to speak out against someone whose work we have so long admired, it would be wrong not to use our platforms to counteract the harm she has caused. Our stance is firm: Transgender women are women. Transgender men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. Intersex people exist and should not be forced to live in the binary. We stand with Harry Potter fans in these communities, and while we don’t condone the mistreatment JKR has received, we must reject her beliefs.
‘We have seen countless people use the Potter books and fanfic to explore their own identities while spreading love and acceptance. We know that this is still possible, and we know that we want to continue to be part of that movement. We are committed to doing better work in our community to uplift and centre the people who have been marginalised and create positive change from within our fandom platforms.’
The website, currently run by webmaster Melissa Anelli, will ‘no longer be covering J.K. Rowling’s personal endeavours’, excluding news about her charity Lumos, and will no longer cover pictures or quotes from Rowling in Wizarding World coverage ‘unless the quotes are particularly newsworthy’. They also said that they will use the hashtag #JKR for potentially hurtful posts so that people can mute the tag.
MuggleNet shared a similar statement and added: ‘MuggleNet’s one and only concern is to create a safe community where all feel welcome. This means continuing to be comprehensive in our coverage while making changes to ensure that this content is accessible to those who want to interact with it and not forced upon those who do not. ‘We will continue to cover J.K. Rowling’s work set outside of the wizarding world (e.g., the Cormoran Strike series, The Ickabog) as well as her charitable foundation, Lumos.
‘We will no longer be covering aspects of her personal life (e.g., awards won, life achievements, tweets that are unrelated to the Wizarding World, charitable donations, legal issues, political commentary or opinions). ‘To create an inclusive space not only for our readers but also for our staff, no MuggleNet volunteer will be expected or encouraged to work with any content they are not comfortable working with.’
MuggleNet, launched by Emerson Spartz in 1999, will no longer feature purchase links to Rowling’s non-Potter work and will stop using pictures of the author in featured images. Both websites shared a graphic of Harry’s lightning bolt scar in the colours of the trans pride flag.
Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Bonnie Wright, Katie Leung and Evanna Lynch all shared their support for the trans community following Rowling’s comments, as did Fantastic Beasts star Eddie Redmayne. Since the backlash, Rowling, 54, has deleted her support of Stephen King after the Carrie author tweeted ‘trans women are women’, and was seen liking a tweet which opposed a ban on conversion therapy.