Today, I’m sharing a letter that a fellow mama bear wrote to JK Rowling in response to Rowling’s raging transphobia. It was once speculated by some previous comments she’s made, now its confirmed.
(If you’re not familiar with how transphobic the billionaire author of the Harry Potter series is, please read here.)
This letter was written by this mama almost a year ago when rumors were circulating about Rowling’s transphobia. And I just thought this to be too sweet of a note not to share.
Rowling wrote her way into so many lives. She’s resonated with so many with her underlying themes of magic and “be who you are” and all of the things that we needed to hear.
Here she is.
Perpetuating narratives that are a danger to our trans community.
She’s breaking hearts.
Please read sweet Georgia’s plea to Jo. I think this will hit many of you in the heart.
I hope it’s ok to call you Jo? You don’t know me, and while it’s true that I don’t know you, I’ve spent so many years in one form or another of your company that I feel a familiarity. We all know there’s an illusion of intimacy that celebrity can bring and I’m mindful of that, but I think it’s fair to say that I might know at least some things about you. That you are compassionate, that you value friendship and loyalty. That in your ideal world, we are all given a fair go, and that respect and recognition should be things that everyone has a chance to earn. That all children are deserving of unconditional, unlimited love.
People sometimes ask which three people, living or not, you would choose to have dinner with. For many years now my answer to that question has been my grandmothers, who both died when I was quite young, and you.
Unlike some of your fans, I didn’t grow up reading your books. At 43, I’m afraid I missed that boat. I discovered Harry Potter at age 23 in 2000, when I was pregnant with my first child. A friend lent me the first, and I quickly devoured the next three. I then eagerly awaited each book as it came out; I joined queues on release days and dressed my then-toddler in his cloak and wand. I spent hours speculating on forums and was sorted into my house (a proud Ravenclaw). In 2006, I saw you read at Radio City Music Hall, and it remains to this day one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I don’t give too much thought to celebrities in general, I doubt there’s a singer or actor who could elicit much of a response from me. But when you sat on the stage and read to us, I wept.
My second child was born earlier that year, betwixt Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows, and my third and fourth were born in 2009 and 2011, when these were released as movies.
So while I can’t claim that you or your books influenced my childhood, in many ways they did influence my motherhood. Partly as a refuge from study and work while jugglingpregnancies and small children, partly as a reward at the end of a long day or a quiet pleasure to indulge in during nap time. But most importantly, as a joy I was able to share with my children. These were no tedious bedtime stories, no tiresome trips to the movies as a reluctant supervisor. These were something we loved, and we loved them together. We still do. I thank you so much for that.
I suppose I need to get to the point. There’s always one of those, isn’t there? I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry I didn’t ever write before without an agenda, but these things often only happen when something strikes a certain chord, and I’ve recently felt compelled to address something important to me.
As well as a librarian, book nerd, killer of indoor plants, lover of handbags, and Harry Potter tragic, I’m mum to a transgender daughter. In many ways, your stories embrace and affirm a daughter like mine. They are filled with children who have the courage and conviction to follow their hearts, and who sometimes face great odds to live life as they know they should. They are filled with messages about bravery, equality, and hope in the face of adversity. They are filled with characters who do not always do what is easiest, but what is right.
It’s so hard for me, then, to reconcile this with recent views on transgender people. Part of me wants to give you the benefit of the doubt, that part of me that has loved, treasured, hung off every word you wrote for so many years. But yet another part of me, the part that faces and fights discrimination, hatred, and bigotry against children like my daughter almost every day, has to recognise that perhaps, for once, your words have lost their magic for me.
I know it’s of no actual consequence to you, but my first thought was “Well, that’s Jo off my fantasy dinner list. Who on earth can I replace her with?”
But I’ve had a little time to think, and I’ve changed my mind. I’d like to keep you there. My grandmothers are on this list because I’d dearly love to know them as an adult, and for them to meet my children. And I’d like you to meet my children too. I’d like you to meet my beautiful daughter, and understand her for the brave, kind, and compassionate person she is. After all you’ve taught us, I’d like to give you the chance to learn from her.
Alas, no such dinner will ever occur. There’s no resurrection stone to bring back my grandmothers, and no “Accio Jo” spell to summon you to my home. But there are other children you could learn these same lessons from. For all the joy and wisdom you’ve given me, I’d like to give one small gift of advice to you: know one transgender child and their family, and I promise that your world will be the more magical for it.