For the massive amount of Harry Potter fans with Twitter accounts who follow J.K. Rowling, this story is old news. For those who have not been on Twitter recently, J.K. Rowling tweeted something which she is now under fire for. Below is the tweet in its entirety.
The hashtag "#IStandWithMaya" is in reference to a woman named Maya whose contract with a charity position was not renewed after remarks she made online in regard to sex and trans identity. Maya refused to recognize trans females (somebody born biologically male but who self-identifies as female on the gender spectrum) as completely equivalent to biological females. When she took the charity company to court over the matter a judge ruled in the company's favor. The judge essentially stated that beliefs that go against human rights laws are not protected and a company is entitled to not renew a position with them if they so choose. Maya's court case has been posted online with the judgments included.
On social media, the debate spread hard and fast. Below are just a few tweets posted in reply to Rowling:
Some people seem to disagree with Rowling and others agree.
Some fans are now ashamed to be a fan of her best-selling series, Harry Potter.
The truth is that it really doesn't matter to me.
Whatever she wants to say or believe has no impact on what her fictional story taught me about life, love, friendship, and more. For me, there is a separation between the fictional world I love and the real person behind the story. And you cannot tell me that no one in this world has different beliefs. Or that we don't all feel different ways about different things.
Harry Potter has taught me and many others so much about the world around us. Just because Rowling has different opinions than me doesn't mean I'm going to boycott the series or burn the books. I love the magic and awe of the Harry Potter series. I love escaping to a world that is completely fictional and getting away for a bit. Perhaps I am alone in my thoughts.
The bottom line is this.
It is all right to disagree with the politics of an author and still appreciate their work. For those who can't separate the art from the artist, I can't help but feel bad. These people are in for a lifetime of being disappointed. It is vitally important that we understand that everyone will eventually disagree with something. At some point, a poet, author, director, comedian, musician, or other famous person you love will inevitably disagree with something you believe in. Even if you don't like everything about the creator it is much better to keep on loving and enjoying the bit of culture they have brought to the world.
I will always be a Harry Potter fan, whether I agree with Rowling's personal or political beliefs or not.
What about you?
EDIT: After all of this went down, more tweets and statements by J.K. Rowling were seen.
Rowling has been in the news and media for her comments about transgender people, even going so far as to release an essay explaining her reasoning. Many people are still angry and upset. Some fans are going so far as to wish removal of their Harry Potter themed tattoos.
I still stand by what I said in my original posting, no matter how you feel about J.K. Rowling and her comments on the trans community, you shouldn't allow that to impact your love of the Harry Potter fandom. I feel almost as though people are purposefully not separating the author from the writing. You can love the imagery and beauty of a painting, but dislike what the artist says about social issues. You can love the intricacies of a ballet, but dislike the way the dancer speaks off stage. I still feel it is important to separate the person from the work. J.K. Rowling, and her thoughts and opinions, are completely separate from the Harry Potter fandom.
J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and put it out into the world. She gave us this story and it is ours. It belongs to the fans who learned important life lessons from going to Hogwarts with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It belongs to those of us who have cared about what happened to those characters as each book was released. No one can take this fandom and my love of Harry Potter away, not even the author herself.